Lead and Iron Poisoning

Although lead levels in food and drink are the lowest in history, concern remains about lead leaching into food from ceramic ware. Improperly fired or formulated glazes on ceramic ware can allow lead to leach into food or drink. Long recognized as a toxic substance, adverse health effects can result from exposure to lead over months or years.  

Most lead toxicity comes from multiple exposure and is a slow accumulation over time. Symptoms may include: refusing to eat, vomiting, convulsions, and malaise. A blood test is the surest way to determine that your child has not been exposed to significant amounts of lead.  

Iron-containing products remain the biggest problem by far when it comes to childhood poisoning. However, iron is an essential nutrient sometimes lacking in people‚Äôs diets which is why iron is often recommended for people with conditions such as iron-deficiency anemia. Taken as prescribed, iron is safe. But when tablets are taken beyond the proper dose in a short period, especially by toddlers or infants, serious injury or death may result.  

Children poisoned with iron face immediate and long-term problems. Within minutes or hours of swallowing iron tablets, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and gastrointestinal bleeding can occur. These problems can progress to shock, coma, seizures, and death. Even if a child appears to have no symptoms after accidentally swallowing iron, or appears to be recovering, medical evaluation should still be sought since successful treatment is difficult once iron is absorbed from the small intestine into the bloodstream. And children who survive iron poisoning can experience other problems, such as gastrointestinal obstruction and liver damage, up to four weeks after the ingested poisoning.  

For a small child, as little as 600 mg of iron can be fatal. Because iron supplements are typically brightly colored and may look like candy, they are particularly attractive to children. 

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