Doctor warns artists of paints containing lead

TOXIC CHEMICAL: As poisoning with heavy metals does not have specific symptoms, most cases are not easily diagnosed and people do not get immediate treatment

Taipei Times
Date: Sep 19, 2020
By: Tsai Ssu-pei and Kayleigh Madjar / Staff reporter, with staff writer

A painter mixes colors on a palette in an undated photograph.
Photo courtesy of Lianan Wellness Center

Oil painters could be at risk of lead poisoning due to long-term exposure to chemicals often found in oil paints and and other paint media, a doctor said on Thursday.

Taipei’s Lianching Clinic assistant director Frankie Gan (顏佐樺) said that he found excessive levels of lead in the blood of a 59-year-old artist surnamed Wu (吳) after she visited the clinic for chronic stomach pain and headaches.

Long-term lead exposure significantly affects many of the internal organs and could cause stomach pain, loss of appetite, constipation, headaches, anemia, restlessness, numbness in the hands and feet, mental impairment and memory loss, and in more extreme cases could even result in chronic high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, kidney damage and infertility, Gan said.

The physician said that most of the people he has encountered with excessive internal lead levels had regular contact with toxic materials at work, for example in automobile manufacturing, welding and painting.    [FULL  STORY]

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