The human body cannot detect the difference between dangerous lead and calcium (a mineral that strengthens bones). Like calcium, lead remains in the bloodstream for a few weeks. Then it is absorbed into the bones, where it can collect over a lifetime.
The harmful effects of lead poisoning are permanent. Children under the age of six, are at particular risk of lead poisoning because they frequently place their hands, toys, and other objects that could have dust from lead-based paint, in their mouths.
Lead poisoning is not easy to detect. Sometimes no symptoms occur, or if they do, they mimic symptoms of more common illnesses. Symptoms associated with lead poisoning in children include:
A blood test is the only way to tell if a child has been poisoned by lead. Usually, a “finger poke” is all that is needed to initially test for lead poisoning. If blood level results are high, however, an additional blood draw may be taken to confirm results.