Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Lead Exposure in Children

This will be my little PSA.  About a month ago Bumble Baby had a two year check up, and the pediatrician drew blood to test for lead.  I was shocked when she called back a few days later to say that she had a lead level of 4.  I know we live in an old house (about 100 years old), and there is bound to be lead paint hiding on the walls.  However, we never found lead in Yaya's blood when she was young, and my hygiene routine was the same for her.  Well, the doctor told me this level was below the point where doctors would really worry, but I should be sure to wash her hands before eating and clean any dusty windowsills.  Then, we'll recheck at her next visit this spring.

In the meantime, I have begun to hear more and more reports of the consequences of lead in children.  It can cause developmental problems, behavioral problems, and it is toxic to many organs and interferes with the reproductive and nervous systems.  To make it worse, I then heard that there is no known amount of lead that is too small to cause harm.  So, Bumble is not really below the "worry" level.

I have always told the kids not to put toys in their mouths (and I keep up on all the recalls).  I even foil the attempts of the littlest ones to "explore with their mouths."  Now, I've become even more vigilant, and a mean mommy.  Bumble has always been the thumb-sucker (Yaya never sucked fingers or pacifiers!), but now every time she sticks it in her mouth, I tell her she should take it out.  And not only do we wash hands before eating, but now we wash them before naptime (biggest thumb-sucking moment), after we climb the apartment building stairs (I think these may be the culprit with years of dust buildup and no real way to clean them all easily).  All of this hand washing is really hard on both of us because of the dry, winter air, but I'll take cracking hands over life-long lead problems.

I had no idea that some foods are also good for removing lead from the blood (Bumble eats most of these in abundance, so she should be good):

Foods High in

Foods High in

Foods High in
Vitamin C

  • Milk
  • Yogurt
  • Low-fat cheese
  • Tofu
  • Low-fat cottage cheese
  • Evaporated milk
  • Powdered milk
  • Lean red meat
  • Low-fat pork
  • Dried beans and peas
  • Raisins
  • Iron fortified cereal
  • Iron fortified infant formula
  • Breast milk
  • Oranges/Orange juice
  • Grapefruit/Grapefruit juice
  • Dark green, leafy vegetables
  • Potatoes cooked in the skin
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Strawberries

(from the Minnesota Department of Health see link below for more information)

Some Useful Links:
Chicago Channel 5 News Story
Flushing Out Lead, Metals With Chelation Therapy
Easy Explanation of Blood Levels from the Oregon Government
Minnesota Department of Health

No comments:

Post a Comment