Sign Up For Our FREE Webinar & Start Your Journey Towards Healing & Wellness

Pompa Program Primary Logo
Lead Toxicity

Lead Toxicity And How It Affects Our Health

Lead Toxicity – How To Remove Lead From The Body

170 million Americans suffer from lead toxicity, mainly due to childhood exposure. Those disproportionately affected were born between the years 1951 and 1980. Lead toxicity can result in various health problems, including decreased cognitive development, learning disabilities, behavior issues, and physical ailments.1

What Products Contain Lead?

Lead can be found in a variety of products, including some paint, water pipes and plumbing fixtures, batteries, cable covers, ceramic glazes and tableware, certain traditional cosmetics, ammunition, and fishing weights. Lead is also sometimes contained in alloys that are used to make jewelry and toys. 

Even items like vinyl mini-blinds often contain lead. It is important to be aware of the potential presence of lead in products, and it is especially important to be careful when working with any potentially contaminated items. Lead-based paint can still be found on some older buildings, so it may be necessary to take extra precautions if doing work in those areas. Lead paint was the most common source of lead exposure for children until it was banned in 1978.

Leaded gasoline was used in cars until it was phased out in the U.S. beginning in the 1970s and completely banned in 1996.2 3

Lead Paint Is Toxic

Lead Exposure In Children

Lead accumulates in bone tissue and can cause serious health problems. It is particularly dangerous for children, as their brains and nervous systems are still developing.4 Lead toxicity is magnified in children because their bodies absorb lead at a much faster rate. This can severely affect the developing brain and cause a long-term reduction in IQ. Even low levels of lead in a child’s body can result in behavioral, speech, and hearing problems. If left untreated, these conditions can cause permanent learning disabilities and developmental delays.5 6

Lead Toxicity In Children

Lead Reduces Intelligence

Exposure to lead reduces intelligence, especially in children. Several studies have linked lead exposure to lower IQs in children and adults alike.7 8 Even low lead exposure can have a significant impact on cognitive development, leading to reduced learning ability and impaired problem-solving skills. In addition, lead exposure has been linked to an increased risk of developing Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).9

Diseases That Stem From Lead Toxicity

Lead toxicity can cause a variety of medical conditions. Lead has been linked to problems such as high blood pressure, nerve damage, cognitive impairment, weakened bones and joints, infertility issues in both men and women, hearing loss, anemia, kidney problems, and more.10

In infants and young children, lead exposure can significantly impact neurological development leading to learning difficulties and behavioral problems.11 In pregnant women, lead toxicity can be passed to their unborn child, leading to physical and mental developmental issues.12

Lead Toxicity And Kidney Dysfunction

Lead toxicity can affect the kidneys in several ways. High levels of lead in the body can damage the kidney’s glomerular filtration rate (GFR), which is responsible for filtering waste products from the bloodstream and regulating water balance in our bodies. The damage to GFR can result in fluid retention, proteinuria, and edema. In addition, lead exposure has been linked to nephrocalcinosis (accumulation of calcium deposits in the kidneys), interstitial nephritis, hypertension, and even chronic kidney disease (CKD).14 15

lead toxicity symptoms

Lead Toxicity And Tremors

Lead poisoning can cause a variety of symptoms and long-term complications. One frequent symptom of lead toxicity is tremors, or uncontrollable shaking in parts of the body such as the hands, feet, and face. These tremors may be accompanied by weakness, an unsteady gait, and difficulty with coordination.16

Lead Toxicity And Nerve Disorders

Exposure to lead can cause nerve damage. Nerve damage caused by lead exposure may manifest as numbness, weakness, paralysis, or difficulty walking and speaking. It can also cause problems with vision, hearing, and memory. Long-term exposure to lead can damage the brain and cause behavioral changes such as irritability, depression, or anxiety.17

Lead Toxicity And Cardiovascular Function

Lead toxicity is a major environmental hazard with significant implications for cardiovascular health. Long-term exposure to lead can result in changes to the structure and function of the cardiovascular system, such as damage to the heart muscle, hypertension, an increased risk of stroke, and decreased vascular reactivity. In addition, lead has been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases, including coronary artery disease and stroke.18 Long-term exposure may cause elevated blood pressure levels and hypertension.19

Lead Toxicity And Fertility

Lead toxicity has been linked to infertility in both men and women. In men, lead exposure may cause decreased sperm count and quality, leading to difficulty in achieving conception. It can also lower testosterone levels, which can affect sexual desire and performance.20

In women, lead exposure has been linked to irregular menstrual cycles, ovulatory dysfunction, and reduced fertility. Lead can affect the development of eggs and embryos, which may lead to miscarriage or other complications during pregnancy. Exposure to lead can also cause damage to reproductive organs, leading to infertility.21

Lead Toxicity And Fertility

Lead Toxicity And Hormone Dysfunction

Lead toxicity can lead to a variety of hormone-related issues. Lead exposure has been linked to the disruption of endocrine system functioning and hormones, including thyroid, estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, and cortisol. This is due to the fact that lead interferes with the production, transport, and metabolism of these hormones. In particular, lead exposure can cause an increase in the production of cortisol, a stress hormone.22 23

Read more about what is causing hormone dysfunction.

Lead Toxicity And Epigenetic Methylation

Lead toxicity is known to induce undesirable epigenetic methylation, meaning it negatively alters gene expression without modifying the underlying DNA sequence. Studies have shown that lead can cause hypomethylation of DNA in the brain, as well as an increase in gene-specific methylation sites. This can lead to the expression of aberrant genes, which can affect neuronal development and function.

In addition to DNA methylation, lead exposure can also induce histone modifications. These modifications are heritable changes that alter gene expression without changing the underlying DNA sequence. Histone-modifying enzymes have been shown to be involved in learning and memory formation, suggesting a role for lead toxicity in these processes.28

Lead Toxicity And Epigenetic Methylation

How To Remove Lead From The Body – DMSA Or DMPS Chelation Therapy

DMSA or DMPS chelation therapy is a safe and effective method for removing lead from the body. The process involves using either chelator to bind with the lead particles in the bloodstream and remove them through the urine. This method has been used successfully to reduce high levels of lead and other heavy metals in individuals who have been exposed to environmental sources of lead contamination, as well as those with diagnosed lead poisoning.29

Oral DMSA Chelation To Remove Lead From The Body

Oral DMSA chelation is a non-invasive approach to detoxifying the body from heavy metals. This therapy involves taking regular, consistent oral doses of DMSA, which binds to and eliminates heavy metals from the body. It has been used safely and effectively in both adults and children for many years and is considered one of the most effective ways to remove heavy metals from the body.30

Lead Toxicity – How To Remove Lead From The Body

Lead toxicity was at the core of my wife’s health problems, my son’s health problems, and many of my patients’ health issues. While removing toxic heavy metals like lead and mercury takes time, this is the only solution to remedying diseases that stem from heavy metal toxicity.

Read more about removing heavy metals from the body here.


1 McFarland, M. J., Hauer, M. E., & Reuben, A. (2022). Half of US population exposed to adverse lead levels in early childhood. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 119(11).

2 J. Annest et al., Chronological trend in blood lead levels between 1976 and 1980. N. Engl. J. Med. 308, 1373–1377 (1983).

3 V. M. Thomas, The elimination of lead in gasoline. Annu. Rev. Energy Environ. 20, 301–324 (1995).

4 B. P. Lanphear et al., Low-level environmental lead exposure and children’s intellectual function: An international pooled analysis. Environ. Health Perspect. 113, 894–899 (2005).

5 E. Gould, Childhood lead poisoning: Conservative estimates of the social and economic benefits of lead hazard control. Environ. Health Perspect. 117, 1162–1167 (2009).

6 J. Boyle, D. Yeter, M. Aschner, D. C. Wheeler, Estimated IQ points and lifetime earnings lost to early childhood blood lead levels in the United States. Sci. Total Environ. 778, 146307 (2021).

7 A. H. M. Kilgour, J. M. Starr, L. J. Whalley, Associations between childhood intelligence (IQ), adult morbidity and mortality. Maturitas 65, 98–105 (2010).

8 G. A. Wasserman et al., The relationship between blood lead, bone lead and child intelligence. Child Neuropsychol. 9, 22–34 (2003).

9 Donzelli G, Carducci A, Llopis-Gonzalez A, Verani M, Llopis-Morales A, Cioni L, Morales-Suárez-Varela M. The Association between Lead and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: A Systematic Review. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2019 Jan 29;16(3):382. doi: 10.3390/ijerph16030382. PMID: 30700018; PMCID: PMC6388268.

10 Lead poisoning – Symptoms and causes – Mayo Clinic. (2022, January 21). Mayo Clinic.

11 Albores-Garcia D, McGlothan JL, Guilarte TR. Early-life lead exposure and neurodevelopmental disorders. Curr Opin Toxicol. 2021 Jun;26:22-27. doi: 10.1016/j.cotox.2021.03.007. Epub 2021 Apr 2. PMID: 34013137; PMCID: PMC8128139.

12 Wang, G. Association between maternal exposure to lead, maternal folate status, and intergenerational risk of childhood overweight and obesity. JAMA Network Open. 2019. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.12343.

13 Steenland K, Boffetta P. Lead and cancer in humans: where are we now? Am J Ind Med. 2000 Sep;38(3):295-9. doi: 10.1002/1097-0274(200009)38:3<295::aid-ajim8>;2-l. PMID: 10940967.

14 Nakhaee S, Amirabadizadeh A, Brent J, Mehrpour O. Impact of chronic lead exposure on liver and kidney function and haematologic parameters. Basic Clin Pharmacol Toxicol. 2019 May;124(5):621-628. doi: 10.1111/bcpt.13179. Epub 2018 Dec 18. PMID: 30471187.

15 RADOSEVIC Z, SARIC M, BERITIC T, KNEZEVIC J. The kidney in lead poisoning. Br J Ind Med. 1961 Jul;18(3):222-30. doi: 10.1136/oem.18.3.222. PMID: 13739013; PMCID: PMC1038152.

16 Lucchini RG, Hashim D. Tremor secondary to neurotoxic exposure: mercury, lead, solvents, pesticides. Handb Clin Neurol. 2015;131:241-9. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-444-62627-1.00014-7. PMID: 26563793.

17 Sanders T, Liu Y, Buchner V, Tchounwou PB. Neurotoxic effects and biomarkers of lead exposure: a review. Rev Environ Health. 2009 Jan-Mar;24(1):15-45. doi: 10.1515/reveh.2009.24.1.15. PMID: 19476290; PMCID: PMC2858639.

18 Navas-Acien A, Guallar E, Silbergeld EK, Rothenberg SJ. Lead exposure and cardiovascular disease–a systematic review. Environ Health Perspect. 2007 Mar;115(3):472-82. doi: 10.1289/ehp.9785. Epub 2006 Dec 22. PMID: 17431501; PMCID: PMC1849948.

19 Qu Y, Lv Y, Ji S, Ding L, Zhao F, Zhu Y, Zhang W, Hu X, Lu Y, Li Y, Zhang X, Zhang M, Yang Y, Li C, Zhang M, Li Z, Chen C, Zheng L, Gu H, Zhu H, Sun Q, Cai J, Song S, Ying B, Lin S, Cao Z, Liang D, Ji JS, Ryan PB, Barr DB, Shi X. Effect of exposures to mixtures of lead and various metals on hypertension, pre-hypertension, and blood pressure: A cross-sectional study from the China National Human Biomonitoring. Environ Pollut. 2022 Apr 15;299:118864. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2022.118864. Epub 2022 Jan 18. PMID: 35063540.

20 Sallmén M, Lindbohm ML, Nurminen M. Paternal exposure to lead and infertility. Epidemiology. 2000 Mar;11(2):148-52. doi: 10.1097/00001648-200003000-00011. PMID: 11021611.

21 Lee S, Min JY, Min KB. Female Infertility Associated with Blood Lead and Cadmium Levels. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Mar 10;17(5):1794. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17051794. PMID: 32164251; PMCID: PMC7084729.

22 Balachandar R, Bagepally BS, Kalahasthi R, Haridoss M. Blood lead levels and male reproductive hormones: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Toxicology. 2020 Oct;443:152574. doi: 10.1016/j.tox.2020.152574. Epub 2020 Aug 26. PMID: 32860866.

23 Kresovich JK, Argos M, Turyk ME. Associations of lead and cadmium with sex hormones in adult males. Environ Res. 2015 Oct;142:25-33. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2015.05.026. Epub 2015 Jun 17. PMID: 26093239.

24 Rhee J, Graubard BI, Purdue MP. Blood lead levels and lung cancer mortality: An updated analysis of NHANES II and III. Cancer Med. 2021 Jun;10(12):4066-4074. doi: 10.1002/cam4.3943. Epub 2021 May 7. PMID: 33963676; PMCID: PMC8209588.

25 Meng Y, Tang C, Yu J, Meng S, Zhang W. Exposure to lead increases the risk of meningioma and brain cancer: A meta-analysis. J Trace Elem Med Biol. 2020 Jul;60:126474. doi: 10.1016/j.jtemb.2020.126474. Epub 2020 Feb 27. PMID: 32146339.

26 Anđelković M, Djordjevic AB, Javorac D, Baralić K, Đukić-Ćosić D, Repić A, Zeljković A, Vekić J, Čolaković N, Bulat Z. Possible role of lead in breast cancer – a case-control study. Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2022 Sep;29(43):65211-65221. doi: 10.1007/s11356-022-20439-z. Epub 2022 Apr 29. PMID: 35488155.

27 Rattan S, Zhou C, Chiang C, Mahalingam S, Brehm E, Flaws JA. Exposure to endocrine disruptors during adulthood: consequences for female fertility. J Endocrinol. 2017 Jun;233(3):R109-R129. doi: 10.1530/JOE-17-0023. Epub 2017 Mar 29. PMID: 28356401; PMCID: PMC5479690.

28 Wang T, Zhang J, Xu Y. Epigenetic Basis of Lead-Induced Neurological Disorders. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Jul 7;17(13):4878. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17134878. PMID: 32645824; PMCID: PMC7370007.

29 Bjørklund G, Mutter J, Aaseth J. Metal chelators and neurotoxicity: lead, mercury, and arsenic. Arch Toxicol. 2017 Dec;91(12):3787-3797. doi: 10.1007/s00204-017-2100-0. Epub 2017 Oct 24. PMID: 29063135.

30 Aposhian HV. DMSA and DMPS—water soluble antidotes for heavy metal poisoning. Annual Review of Pharmacology and Toxicology. 1983;23:193–215.

Related posts