What Are the Symptoms of Lead Poisoning?

Medically Reviewed by Carol DerSarkissian, MD on May 10, 2021

If you have been exposed to lead, you may not have obvious symptoms. But no symptoms doesn’t mean that you don’t have lead poisoning. You might only develop symptoms once the amount of lead in your blood reaches dangerous levels. Then, symptoms might include:

Symptoms in Kids

Kids who have lead poisoning may not show any symptoms. It’s a good idea to have your kids tested, to be safe. If little ones do develop signs of lead poisoning, they might appear as any of the following:

If your child shows any of these symptoms, get them tested for lead right away. Your doctor can measure how much lead is in their blood with a simple blood test.

Call 911 if your child shows severe symptoms of possible lead poisoning, like vomiting or seizures.

Lead poisoning can have permanent effects on a child.

If you’re pregnant, you can pass on lead poisoning to your baby simply by swallowing an item that contains lead or breathing in lead dust. Babies exposed to lead before birth might be born prematurely, have lower birth weight, or have learning or behavior problems.

Show Sources


CDC: “Lead,” “What are the Physiologic Effects of Lead Exposure?”

Mayo Clinic: “Lead Poisoning.”

U.S. National Library of Medicine: “Lead Poisoning.”

Harvard Medical School: “Lead Poisoning.” “Lead Poisoning.”

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