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Lead Poisoning Still A Threat For Children

Updated on August 31, 2016

Surprisingly today lead poisoning is still an issue for children in American. In the 21st century, with the rave of the internet and so much high tech gadgets and inventions, lead is still a threat to children. A branch from Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports some 890,000 children are exposed to lead each year.

What is Lead?

Lead is a natural element found in the earth. Usually, it co-exists in the earth with elements such as copper, silver or zinc. Lead is a bountiful resource that is malleable and inexpensive to manufacture. Many manufacturing companies still use lead in building material, some paints, bullets, and ceramic items. The presence of lead in these products becomes an issue when absorbed by the body. Buildings with lead material or lead base paint is not necessarily a hazard to children, until of course, they begin to live in them.

The Dangers Of Lead In The Blood

When absorbed, lead effects both children and adults. However, children have the capacity to absorb lead faster than adults. Studies support that lead affects brain functions, the nervous systems, IQ, aptitude, attentions span, hearing, and the kidney. In severe cases the presence of lead in the body can result in death. It is a slow process for this element to enter the body, which means it can take several months before it is detected. If you are concern about your child’s exposure to lead talk to your doctor and get your child tested. The cost for testing is minimal. Children as a rule are tested for lead as early as 1 to 2 years old.

Lead & pyrochroit CC by Flickr
Lead & pyrochroit CC by Flickr | Source

How Much Lead is Too Much?

In the past, the CDC was concern about the presence of over 25 micrograms of lead in children’s blood, and launched a nationwide awareness in local areas to set up preventative measures. The agency recommended that all at risk and young children be monitored for lead poisoning. Today, there is even a greater push to monitor lead in children. There is an urgency to monitor children because even though screening is in place for a certain amount of the element in the blood, recent studies show that any presence of the substance in a child is harmful. Various studies highlight that the presence of lead is also directly connected to a child’s conduct, capabilities, disorder, immune system and endocrine gland. The agency is aggressively trying to evaluate any products that can possibly be hazardous to children.

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Recall lead paint CC by Flickr
Recall lead paint CC by Flickr | Source

Medical Treatment

The CDC in its preventative mode has regulated that medical physicians report 5 micrograms or higher that is present in a child’s blood. So far some 535,000 children fall within this measured amount. Physicians after discussing treatment with parents are required to use one of many therapy treatment. The majority use “chelation therapy” for children that have 25 or more microgram of lead. The treatment taken orally will remove metals from the child’s blood which will be secreted in the urine.

Lead in The Home

The intake of lead in a child’s blood starts in the home. Hence the CDC, the U.S. Department of Housing, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Urban Development are partnering to enact preventative measures. In homes build before 1978, and apartment complexes “dust” and “lead-based paint” are the main substance of lead. As parents repair or have homes repaired there is usually no monitoring of the type of materials used. This is mainly due to the misconception that the issue of lead poisoning is resolved. Everyone is aware that the substances used in old homes and windows are hazardous so they take precautions in these instances. However, many functioning with the misconception that lead is completely eliminated from all building materials do not safeguard the home from the presence of lead. Therefore, it is easy to inadvertently use materials meant for commercial buildings in private home repairs. The Housing Department expressed frustration in its inability to eliminate this problem. The agency is working on conducting studies to actively resolving the presence of lead in the home, but their lack of funding limits their capacity. Whatever the restraints, the agency is committed to heighten lead awareness in families. It has some common sense suggestions for limiting the presence of lead in the home. If applicable or affordable remove any paint in the home that is lead-based. Regularly clean chip paints and dust from the home and of course, monitor any items that your child comes in contact with.

Lead in Goods

It was disappointing to learn that some consumer goods contain lead. These are the products outlined by the CDC to contain high levels of lead: unmediated remedies, Mexican candy, cosmetics, and some cookware. Before using any of the listed items check with the manufacture to see if any lead is present in their products.

Smile! You’ve got lead poisoning! CC by Flickr
Smile! You’ve got lead poisoning! CC by Flickr | Source

Lead in Some Toys

In the past toy manufacturers used lead materials to make toys, knowing that lead poisoning was a major concern. They justified this use by indicating that is was more inexpensive and hence brought down the cost for children’s toys. Lead element does not rust, will not contain mildew and is very bendable. Today, these toys are recalled and most are off the market. However, some of these toys may still be available through garage sales and thrift stores. As a single parent always trying to save money a used toy is always a good idea. Just use caution when making these thrifty purchase.

It is alarming that lead poisoning is still a challenge for today’s children. But, parents can take preventative measures to help protect their children from the hazard of this element. Look around your home and see if lead is an element that must be removed from your home.


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    • Flipsgeraldine profile imageAUTHOR

      Yvette Marshall 

      3 years ago from Houston, Texas

      I know I don't. Thanks for the comment.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      3 years ago from USA

      I had no idea that so many years after it first made headlines, this is still an issue. And that is awful that lead is in cosmetics. I bet all of us folks better than 40 don't want to know what our lead levels are.


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