Does lead poisoning cause brain damage?

Posted on Sat, 26 Apr 2014 in General Health
Question: Hi There, I am concerned about lead poisoning. I was recently working to fix a radiator that has lead-paint on it. After touching the radiator, I had some of the lead-paint debris/flakes on my hands. I went on to another project. Absent-minded, I later ate a sandwich without washing my hands. I worry that I may have ingested some of the flakes as my hands were still dirty. Do I run the risk of brain damage? How would I know if I've been poisoned?
Answered by Dr. Ivo Ditah 38 minutes later
Brief Answer: You would not have lead poisoning just now Detailed Answer: Hi and thank you so much for this query. A one time exposure would not cause symptoms of lead poisoning be it now or sometime in the future unless you ingested significant amounts which seems not to be the case here. Lead poisoning occurs when lead builds up in the body, often over a period of months or years. Just for your knowledge, the signs are symptoms may include high blood pressure, declines in mental functioning, pain, numbness or tingling of the extremities, muscular weakness, headache abdominal pain, memory loss mood disorders, reduced sperm count, abnormal sperm, etc. In all, you would not present with signs and symptoms of lead poisoning just because of this one tie exposure. Be relaxed and calm. Avoid future exposures and you would be fine. I hope this addresses your query fully. I wish you well and feel free to request for more information and clarification if need be. Thanks. Dr. Ivo, MD.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Raju A.T
Follow up: Dr. Ivo Ditah 17 minutes later
Thanks Doctor. I was worried that it may cause permanent brain damage. Are adults at risk for this? I've heard it's really children that need to worry. I feel like I may have ingested some of the dust. Are you sure I'm ok and won't face any cognitive difficulties? I just see a lot of scary things when I search Google:)
Answered by Dr. Ivo Ditah 45 minutes later
Brief Answer: One time small quantities...Minimal risk Detailed Answer: Hi and thank you so much for this follow up. The simple truth is that google makes no analysis of information and lead is lead. Of course, google will not know whether it was a one time small quantity or many times much quantities! I am not surprised you were made to get very scare. That;s why we need a logical reasoning process into all we do especially when it comes to health. Children bear a higher risk because they ingest and have a long time to accumulate and develop brain damage. This is not the case with adults who would only ingest accidentally in small quantities. If it were al limited to this, you are good and the risk of having any cognitive difficulties in future is almost nonexistent. be careful as you handle this in future. I hope you feel a lot better not because I want you to but because the facts say so. I wish you well. Dr. Ivo, MD.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Raju A.T
Follow up: Dr. Ivo Ditah 21 minutes later
Thanks Dr. That's a relief. Will my body eventually pass the lead out of my system? I just want to make sure it is not doing any organ damage? You've made my day so much better!
Answered by Dr. Ivo Ditah 2 hours later
Brief Answer: We all have non toxic lead levels! Detailed Answer: Thanks for your kind words and humbling to know your day has been made a better one. The problem is not lead but the quantity. The quantity is almost negligible in your case and there is no need to get worried. Remember there are persons who manipulate lead daily as their jobs and yet do not develop toxicity because they take measures and keep the levels very low. If you were at risk, getting lead out of the system is relatively inexpensive and not invasive that I would have recommended. I wish you well. All the best and feel free to keep the discussion going if needed. Dr. Ivo, MD.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Raju A.T
Follow up: Dr. Ivo Ditah 6 hours later
Doctor, I'm still a bit worried as I haven't felt myself. What are your thoughts on chelation? I was considering taking DMSA to proactively lower my metal levels. I just worry that I've heard of some dangers of DMSA. Is it true that it moves the lead around and can cause you further problems? I also wanted to ask about the health risks of lead for adults versus children. Do adults risk brain damage from lead exposure? Thanks again for the help.
Answered by Dr. Ivo Ditah 1 hour later
Brief Answer: PLease, do not create a problem when there is none Detailed Answer: Hi and thanks for this follow up. You are very concerned about this lead poisoning to levels that it is no longer helping to address the problem but creating a new one. I will not want to see you engineer a problem for us to manage. There is no need for chelation at this point. I will not recommend it at this time unless something else suggests so. Children can suffer from lead poisoning just like adults but, the difference is that children can easily attain toxic levels than adults. Instead of being so so worried, you may want to get your blood lead levels measured for an objective information that would calm you down. This to me is totally not necessary at this point but for the fact that the figures may help you get over this by being assured and reassured that there is nothing bad with lead levels in your system. I hope this helps. Stop being unhelpful to yourself through unhealthy thoughts. I wish you well. Dr. Ivo, MD.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Prasad
Answered by
Dr. Ivo Ditah

Internal Medicine Specialist

Practicing since :2002

Answered : 3922 Questions


The User accepted the expert's answer

Share on
Question is related to
Diseases and Conditions ,   ,   ,   ,   ,  

Recent questions on  Muscular weakness

doctor1 MD

Hi! My partner has erectile dysfunction . Viagra used to work for him, but not anymore. When he can get a erection, he loses it, and he never has...

doctor1 MD

Is it possible I have myasthenia gravis? riginally felt something wasn’t moving properly when I breathed in and out, ordered chest xray which came...

doctor1 MD

Hello doctor I am attaching a MRI report. Please would you like to provide advice to what would be the best treatment for this condition. Surgery...

doctor1 MD

My husband has been developing muscular weakness for over a year, he had shinles a year and ahalf ago. He has had flu, and a bout of bronchitis. It...

doctor1 MD

Sir, I need help in thyroid. My report is as follows (FT3,FT4 AND us TSH Done by ELFA Technology on fully automated MINIVIDAS SYSTEM) FT3 ( Free...

doctor1 MD

Hello Doc

I am 22 male, 180cm height, 55kg weight

My thyroid report is the following:

T4 11.20 ug/dL

T3 0.90 ng/mL

TSH 1.94 uIU/mL

My Doctors says...

Get personalised answers from verified doctor in minutes across 80+ specialties

176 Doctors Online

By proceeding, I accept the Terms and Conditions

HCM Blog Instant Access to Doctors
HCM Blog Questions Answered
HCM Blog Satisfaction