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Do you employees work with lead? Look out for these 21 possible health effects of lead exposure

by , 29 October 2013
If your employees work with lead, you must protect them from lead exposure. If you don't, your employees could face the following lead-induced health effects.

According to the Health & Safety Club, pure metallic lead by itself isn't dangerous to workers. It's the lead oxides and salts, usually in the form of metal fumes or dust particles, that present the health hazard.

It's crucial you protect your workers from lead exposure.

The reason?

'Lead affects all organs and functions of the body to varying degrees. And the frequency and severity of symptoms among exposed individuals depends on the amount of exposure,' says the Health & Safety Advisor.

Here's a list of the 21 key lead-induced health effects:

Neurological effects:

1. Peripheral neuropathy
2. Fatigue and irritability
3. Impaired concentration
4. Hearing loss
5. Wrist/foot drop (limpness of the wrist and ankle)
6. Seizures
7. Encephalopathy (abnormalities of the brain)

Gastrointestinal effects:

8. Nausea
9. Dyspepsia
10. Constipation
11. Colic
12. Lead line on gingival (gum) tissue

Reproductive effects:

13. Miscarriages and stillbirths
14. Reduced sperm
15. Abnormal sperm

Hematology (blood)

16. Anaemia
17. Erythrocyte protoporphyrin elevation (one of the consequences of iron deficiency)

Renal effects

18. Chronic nephropathy (abnormalities of kidneys)with proximal tubular damage
19. Hypertension


20. Arthralgia (pain in or around a joint)
21. Myalgia (muscular pain)

Remember, any work process that creates lead dust, fume or vapour is hazardous. Now that you're aware of the associated hazards, take the following steps to protect your employees from lead exposure.

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