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Lead Poisoning Signs & Symptoms

The lead poisoning statistics for Iowa children are staggering: according to the Iowa Department of Public Health, seven percent of children living in Iowa are affected by lead poisoning, compared with just 1.6 percent of children nationally. These lead exposed children can suffer from a variety of health concerns, including developmental issues, slowed muscle and bone growth, speech and language disabilities, nervous system damage, behavioral problems, anemia, and even death.

What are the signs and symptoms of lead poisoning in children, and what is the best way to determine whether or not your child has been exposed to dangerous levels of lead in Iowa?

Unfortunately, lead poisoning can be difficult to detect in children until the condition has begun to attack the nervous system. In fact, most children will not display early symptoms of lead poisoning, which can include paleness, weight loss, digestive issues, constipation, vomiting, fatigue, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, loss of skills, difficulty sleeping, aggressive behavior, hearing problems, behavioral problems, slowed body growth, headaches, and irritability.

The most definitive way to determine if your child's blood contains unsafe levels of lead is through testing. In Iowa, lead testing has been mandatory for all children starting kindergarten since 2007. These tests, conducted by the Iowa Bureau of Lead Poisoning Prevention, can catch instances of lead poisoning early and intervene with medical treatments that can reduce the effects of dangerous levels of lead. If you would like to get your child tested before kindergarten, talk to your doctor about your concerns.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends lead poisoning testing for children on their first and second birthdays. They also recommend testing for the first six years if you live in a home built before 1950, regularly visit a home built before 1950, receive Medicaid, have a close relative who has tested positive, or have not been tested in the past.

Be particularly wary of the common signs and symptoms of lead poisoning if your environment may contain lead. In Iowa, most children are exposed to lead through lead paint chips and lead paint dust, as more than half of all houses built before 1950 contain lead paint. Ask your landlord about the lead paint situation on the property you are leasing or take paint chip samples and have them tested.

If you or your child have been the victim of lead poisoning in Iowa due to the carelessness or negligence of someone else, talk to an experienced lead poisoning attorney. Contact us today. 

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