Treatment for begins with removing the sources of lead. Getting balanced nutrition may also help. These measures are usually sufficient to limit exposure to lead and reduce lead levels in the body.
Old paint chips and dirt are the most common sources of lead in the home. Lead-based paint and the dust and dirt that come from its decomposition should be removed by professionals. In the workplace, removal of sources usually involves removing lead dust that is in the air and making sure adults don't bring contaminated dust or dirt into the home on clothes worn for work.
Balanced nutrition includes adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals such as iron, calcium, and vitamin C. A person who eats a balanced, nutritious diet may absorb less lead than a person whose diet is inadequate.
If removing the source of lead and balancing nutrition do not reduce lead levels, or if the blood lead level is very high, may be used. Chelation therapy is a process that lowers the amount of lead stored in the body. Drugs called chelating agents cause metals like lead to bind to them, and then they are eliminated from the body through urine. Because chelating agents may increase the absorption of lead and other metals, it is essential that sources of lead exposure be removed before a person is treated. If you have this treatment, your doctor will closely watch you for side effects.
If blood lead levels do not come down with treatment, the home and work areas need to be rechecked for other sources of lead. Contact your local health department to see what inspection services are in your area.
Prevention, primarily through screening of both children and adults, is the most effective means of reducing or eliminating the effects of lead poisoning. Damage from lead poisoning, especially to the central nervous system, is often incurable and may not improve with treatment.