Lead poisoning occurs when too much lead accumulates in the body.
Lead is a metallic element that can be absorbed by the body, primarily through the lungs and stomach. Generally, lead poisoning occurs slowly, resulting from the gradual accumulation of lead in bone and tissue after repeated exposure.
It is important to note that young children absorb lead far more easily and rapidly than adults. The developing nervous systems of young children are more susceptible to the adverse effects of lead. Unborn babies are also susceptible to the adverse effects of lead, as it crosses the placenta during pregnancy.
However, lead poisoning can affect nearly every system in the body. It can cause learning disabilities, behavioral problems and at very high levels, seizures, coma and even death.
Lead is listed as a known carcinogen (a cancer causing substance) in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Toxic Release Inventory.