Indian Journal of Clinical Biochemistry

, Volume 33, Issue 2, pp 132–146 | Cite as

Lead: Tiny but Mighty Poison

  • Chaffy Sachdeva
  • Kshema Thakur
  • Aditi Sharma
  • Krishan Kumar Sharma
Review Article
  • 61 Downloads

Abstract

The documentation of lead toxicity (plumbism) dates back to the times when man learnt its various applications. This versatile heavy metal is non-degradable and its ability to get accumulated in the body that goes undiagnosed, makes it a serious environmental health hazard. Lead is now known to affect almost every organ/tissue of the human body. With irreversible effects on neurobiological development of young children and foetus, its toxicity has lasting implications on the human life. Outlining the symptoms, diagnosis and treatment therapy for lead poisoning, the present review elaborates the pathophysiological effects of lead on various organs. This will be of immense help to the health professionals so as to inculcate a better understanding of the lead poisoning which otherwise is asymptomatic. With chelation therapy being the classic path of treatment, new strategies are being explored as additive/adjunct therapy. It is now understood that lead toxicity is completely preventable. In this regard significant efforts are in place in the developed countries whereas much needs to be done in the developing countries. Spreading the awareness amongst the masses by educating them and reducing the usage of lead following stricter industry norms appears to be the only roadmap to prevent lead poisoning. Efforts being undertaken by the Government of India and other organisations are also mentioned.

Keywords

BLL Chelation therapy Lead poisoning Pathophysiology Prevention 

Abbreviations

ACCLPP

Advisory Committee on Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention

ALA

δ-Aminolevulinic acid

ALAD

δ-Aminolevulinic acid dehydratrase

ALAS

δ-Aminolevulinic acid synthetase

BBB

Blood brain barrier

BLL

Blood lead level

CAT

Catalase

CDC

Centres for Disease Control and Prevention

EP

Erythrocyte protoporphyrin

GSH

Reduced glutathione

GST

Glutathione-S-transferase

HCG

Human chorionic gonadotropin

IARC

International Agency for Research in Cancer

IQ

Intelligence quotient

NAC

N-acetyl cysteine

NRCLPI

National Referral Centre for Lead Poisoning in India

RBC

Red blood cell

ROS

Reactive oxygen species

SOD

Superoxide dismutase

Notes

Author Contributions

KKS conceptualized the idea of the review, guided through it, critically read and organized the final manuscript. CS, KT and AS researched the data and drafted the manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors have no conflict of interest with this manuscript.

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Copyright information

© Association of Clinical Biochemists of India 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chaffy Sachdeva
    • 1
  • Kshema Thakur
    • 1
  • Aditi Sharma
    • 2
  • Krishan Kumar Sharma
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiochemistryDr. Yashwant Singh Parmar Government Medical CollegeNahan, Distt. SirmaurIndia
  2. 2.Department of Microbiology and Community MedicinePost Graduate Institute of Medical Education and ResearchChandigarhIndia

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