Health & Medicine

What are the signs of lead exposure?

The dangers posed by lead poisoning are well documented. In young children, lead poisoning can lead to hearing loss, kidney failure, learning disabilities and behavioral problems, studies show. Adults can suffer memory loss, headaches and mood disorders, and lead poisoning has been linked to miscarriages.
The dangers posed by lead poisoning are well documented. In young children, lead poisoning can lead to hearing loss, kidney failure, learning disabilities and behavioral problems, studies show. Adults can suffer memory loss, headaches and mood disorders, and lead poisoning has been linked to miscarriages.

The city-owned indoor gun range, James G. Mangan Rifle and Pistol Range in south Sacramento's Mangan Park, on 34th Avenue near Freeport Boulevard, was closed more than 15 months ago because it was polluted by hazardous levels of lead dust after decades of operation. But the city has never cleaned that toxic dust from the interior of the range, nor from the roof, according to interviews and internal city documents. Environmental scientists specializing in lead contamination say the tainted particles that remained should have been cleaned long ago, and may pose an environmental hazard for park users and residents in the surrounding neighborhood.

Read The Sacramento Bee's special report, “Shuttered gun range in south Sacramento park leaked toxic lead dust”

The dangers posed by lead poisoning are well documented. In young children, lead poisoning can lead to hearing loss, kidney failure, learning disabilities and behavioral problems, studies show. Adults can suffer memory loss, headaches and mood disorders, and lead poisoning has been linked to miscarriages.

 

Additional resources:

▪  Preventing childhood lead poisoning, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

▪  Data, statistics and surveillance, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

▪  FAQ: Frequently asked questions about lead poisoning, California Department of Public Health

▪  Fact sheets, brochures about lead poisoning and how to prevent it, California Department of Public Health

Lead exposure

Although often without obvious symptoms, lead exposure can affect nearly every part of the human body. No safe level of lead in the bloodstream has been determined by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  • Adults
  • Brain: Memory loss, lack of concentration, headaches, irritability, depression
  • Cardiovascular: High blood pressure
  • Kidneys: Abnormal function and damage
  • Digestive system: Constipation, nausea and poor appetite
  • Reproductive system: Men: Decreased sex drive and sperm count, sperm abnormalities; Women: Spontaneous miscarriage
  • Body: Fatigue, joint and muscle pain
  • Nervous system: Damage including numbness and pain in the extremities
  • Children
  • Nervous system: Damage
  • Brain: Behavior problems, lower IQ, hearing loss, learning disabilities
  • Blood: Anemia
  • Kidneys: Damage
  • Body: Decreased bone and muscle growth

Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; National Institutes of Health

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