Lead Poisoning- Part 1 by David Davis, M.D.
Many years ago a constantly convulsing seven-year-old child was brought into my emergency room. She required immediate life-saving measures. After stabilization, and for reasons unknown, I asked our laboratory to send out a test for lead on a sample of her spinal fluid. Several days later I received a call from the laboratory at Massachusetts General Hospital reporting an incredibly high level of lead which, as far as I was concerned, easily explained the seizure cause. Although the available treatment to remove lead was FDA approved, this child was given a pediatric diagnosis of epilepsy and was instead placed on medication.
The recent extensive media covered lead tragedy in Flint, Michigan serves as a reminder of a similar, but poorly reported mass lead poisoning outbreak in children in Washington DC. In both cases, an alert physician identified the source. Unfortunately, a large percentage of physicians do not understand either heavy metal testing or treatment.
As a consequence, these heavy metal poisoning incidents may only be the tip of a toxic iceberg formed by an array of heavy metals such as mercury, arsenic, cadmium, aluminum, antimony, uranium and nickel to name a few. These elements have all been found in the brains of criminals as well as highly concentrated in maternal placental blood samples.
Interestingly there have not been any reports in the media of victims receiving the same chelation therapy (medical procedure to remove heavy metals from the body) that the shipyard workers were given after being diagnosed with lead poisoning in the 1950s. No one appears to be aware the removal of lead from men, children and pregnant women using chelation therapy is FDA approved and recommended.
Everyone should know more about the heavy metal consequences and treatments which may be medically withheld for reasons not easily explainable. Parents should learn more about this toxic epidemic before seeking medical help, simply because many doctors do not appreciate the magnitude of the problem, the diagnostic steps, or the treatments available.
What Causes Lead Poisoning?
Signs and Symptoms of Lead Poisoning:
- Lead poisoning, for the most part, is asymptomatic asymptomatic (producing or showing no symptoms). The vast majority of cases, therefore, go undiagnosed and untreated.
- Very high lead levels in children can cause severe neurologic problems such as coma, convulsion, and even death, although such levels are now rare in the U.S.
- Lower levels cause adverse effects on the central nervous system, kidney, and hematopoietic system.
- Many other effects begin in children at these low blood lead levels, including decreased stature or growth, decreased hearing acuity, and decreased ability to maintain a steady posture or growth.
Who is Most at Risk for Lead Poisoning?
- Children under the age of six years old because they grow rapidly and tend to put their hands or other objects, which may be contaminated with lead dust, into their mouths.
- Those who live in homes built before 1978. These houses are likely to contain some lead-based paint. However, it is the deterioration of this paint that causes a problem. Approximately 24 million housing units have deteriorated leaded paint and elevated levels of lead-contaminated house dust. More than 4 million of these dwellings are homes to one or more young children.
The information provided is for general interest only and should not be misconstrued as a diagnosis, prognosis or treatment recommendation. This information does not in any way constitute the practice of medicine, or any other health care profession. Readers are directed to consult their health care provider regarding their specific health situation. Marque Medical is not liable for any action taken by a reader based upon this information.