Potential health effects for workers exposed to lead

Lead is a common element that is found on and in the Earth. This soft metal has been used for centuries and became an indispensible component of human industrialization. However, it is also one of the first elements that were known to have serious health effects on humans. And while safety standards have improved greatly over the centuries, workers in many different industries, including construction, manufacturing and transportation, can still be exposed to too much lead.

Too much lead in a person’s body is called lead poisoning. It is caused by repeated toxic exposure to some form of lead either at the workplace or in the home. This repeated exposure prevents the body from eliminating the lead from the body. It can accumulate in different areas of the body and cause serious health issues and even death. It primarily enters the body by either being eaten or inhaled.

One of the signs of lead poisoning is high blood pressure. Since this can be a common condition of middle age, it’s possible that lead poisoning may be initially ruled out as the cause. Other signs of lead poisoning include muscle pain, constipation, headache, memory loss, mood disorders, and pain or numbness in the hands and feet.

Treatment for lead exposure must begin with removing the victim from the source of exposure. Then, a type of therapy called chelation therapy, where a medication is given which binds the lead molecules so that they can be removed from the body by urinating, is utilized.

In short, lead poisoning is a serious condition that requires medical treatment. Any Michigan worker who believes that they have been exposed to lead at their job may want to speak with a work injury attorney after first receiving the proper medical treatment, as they may be able to take legal action in an attempt to protect their financial well-being.

Source: Mayo Clinic, “Safety and health topics – lead“, accessed Oct. 25, 2015