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Lead Poisoning - Topic Overview

How is it treated? continued...

Removing the source of lead. Old paint chips and dirt are the most common sources of lead in the home. Lead-based paint, and the dirt and dust that come along with it, should be removed by professionals. In the workplace, removal usually means removing lead dust that's in the air and making sure that people don't bring contaminated dust or dirt on their clothing into their homes or other places.

Good nutrition. Eating foods that have enough iron and other vitamins and minerals may be enough to reduce lead levels in the body. A person who eats a balanced, nutritious diet may absorb less lead than someone with a poor diet.

Chelation therapy. If removing the lead source and getting good nutrition don't work, or if lead levels are very high, you may need to take chelating medicines. These medicines bind to lead in the body and help remove it.

If blood lead levels don't come down with treatment, home and work areas may need to be rechecked. Call your local health department to see what inspection services are offered in your area.

The best way to avoid lead poisoning is to prevent it. Treatment cannot reverse any damage that has already occurred. But there are many ways to reduce your exposure—and your child's—before it causes symptoms.

This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: September 09, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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