What Are the Long-Term Health Effects from Lead Paint Exposure?

Posted on behalf of Peter T. Nicholl in Lead Paint Poisoning Published on December 12, 2019 and updated on March 3, 2022.

patient in medical officeAlthough lead-based paint was once widely used in households and buildings built before 1978, lead can still be found in batteries, cosmetics and jewelry. Lead poisoning can lead to several long-term health effects that may require extensive medical treatment and cause life-altering changes in a person’s life.

If you or a loved one has suffered from lead poisoning, a knowledgeable Maryland lead paint poisoning lawyer from our firm is prepared to help. We can discuss your legal options during a free consultation.

Prolonged Lead Exposure in Children and Adults

While some symptoms of lead paint may appear shortly after exposure, serious medical conditions often do not arise until prolonged exposure has occurred.

Lead can be absorbed into the body in various ways. One path of absorption is through inhalation. For example, lead dust from old paint or other materials may be in the air and breathed in by those nearby. Eventually, the lead travels to the lungs. Another route of exposure is through ingestion. This is particularly common for children who may swallow paint chips.

Once lead enters the body, it enters the bloodstream. Then, it flows into the kidney. The kidney is an important organ in the body that purifies blood before it is sent to the rest of the body.

However, the kidneys are not well equipped to remove lead, so the lead can travel with the blood to other organs of the body where it can be stored in the liver, tissue or bones. This can cause further damage to the body as the lead is slowly released over time.

Prolonged exposure to lead may result in the following negative health effects:

  • Heart disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Reduced fertility
  • High blood pressure

Symptoms of lead poisoning include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Constipation
  • Loss of appetite
  • Tremors
  • Nausea
  • Weakness
  • Weight loss
  • Insomnia
  • Feelings of numbness
  • Dizziness
  • Anxiety
  • Hyperactivity
  • Cognitive problems
  • Nervous irritability
  • Memory loss
  • Depression
  • Fatigue

Neurological Problems

One of the most devastating medical conditions that can arise from lead exposure is neurological problems. Adults who have been exposed to lead can eventually develop:

  • Neuropathy
  • Cognition problems
  • Difficulty with executive functions like organizing decisions, actions and behaviors
  • Aggression and other abnormal social behaviors

Children suffer neurological effects from lead exposure at much lower lead levels than adults, including at levels that were once believed to be harmless. Lead poisoning can result in the following neurological problems in children:

  • Attention deficit hypertension disorder
  • Shortened attention span
  • Decreased IQ
  • Lower academic achievement
  • Reductions in specific cognitive measures
  • Loss of self-control
  • Delayed learning

Renal Issues

Lead can affect the kidneys and lead to a number of renal issues, including the following conditions:

  • Chronic advanced renal disease
  • A reduction in renal function in adulthood
  • Kidney disease
  • Acute kidney injury
  • Toxic stress on the kidney
  • Nephropathy

Cardiovascular Disease

Lead poisoning has been linked to cardiovascular disease and other heart problems, including:

  • Ischemic coronary heart disease
  • Peripheral vascular disease
  • Cerebrovascular accidents
  • Hypertension
  • Elevated blood pressure

Studies have shown that if a person was exposed to lead during their childhood, they had a significantly higher risk of developing hypertension 50 years later, compared to those adults who were not exposed to lead during their childhood.

Other Health Effects From Overexposure to Lead

Overexposure to lead has also been linked to reproductive problems, including infertility, decreased sperm count and eclampsia. When a pregnant mother is exposed to lead, the baby is also exposed, causing the baby to be more likely to be born at a low birth weight or have reduced fetal growth.

Lead poisoning can also damage other aspects of the body, including:

  • Nervous system
  • Immune system
  • Bones
  • Intestines
  • Teeth
  • Blood
  • Endocrine system
  • Gastrointestinal system

Lead poisoning has even been linked to an increased risk of cancer and developmental delays.

Discuss Your Claim With Us Today

Lead poisoning can result in life-altering consequences and require extensive medical treatment. If you or a loved one was harmed by lead paint or another source of lead, consider contacting our legal team at Peter T. Nicholl Law Offices.

We are prepared to review your claim and discuss your legal options during a free, no-obligation consultation. We charge no upfront fees and only collect if you obtain compensation for your claim.

Get started by calling 410-244-7005. You may be eligible to compensation.