print   Print full article

Treatment

Depending on the results of the blood lead test, treatment may involve efforts to reduce exposure to lead, such as by wet mopping living areas frequently. Lead abatement is the process of methodically removing lead paint or other lead sources from a building or area. Workers exposed to lead in their jobs may have to wear respirators. If lead is still building up in their bodies, they may be transferred to a low-lead job, a procedure called medical removal. Abatement at the work site may be required if blood lead levels are very high among employees.

Chelation therapy is a last resort treatment to rid the body of high amounts of lead. Chelation involves giving the affected person a chemical, which lead will preferentially bind to, that then will be excreted in the urine. Sodium calcium edetate is effective but has to be given into a vein. Dimercaptosuccinic acid has the advantage that it can be given by mouth and is often used in small children. Chelation treatment can be dangerous, however, because the chemical-lead combination can damage kidneys.

For more information about lead poisoning, see the links on Related Pages


Last Review Date: December 30, 2018