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Postgrad Med. 1996 Mar;99(3):201-2, 207-18.

Getting the lead out: when is treatment necessary?

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Department of Family Practice, University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria, USA.


Lead poisoning is a continuing health concern, especially in children. Screening mandates by states, in addition to evidence that lead is toxic at lower levels than previously thought, make it increasingly important for physicians to have an understanding of this problem. Careful history taking focused on potential lead exposure from environmental, occupational, and recreational sources aids in detection and treatment. Avoidance of further lead exposure is the chief intervention in all patients at risk. Chelation therapy should be considered when blood lead levels reach 25 mg/dL in children and 51 mg/dL in adults.

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