Saturday, July 3, 2010


The following can be found in Healthy Child, Whole Child by Ditchek and Greenfield, both M.D.s.

Children are exposed to lead mostly through dust, dirt, and water. Lead poisoning results in lowered IQ, learning disabilities, hyperactivity, aggressiveness, and criminal behavior. Early exposure to lead shrinks areas of the brain associated with attention, decision making, and emotional control. "The optimal level for lead in the blood is zero. Federal safe blood-lead levels are set at 10 mcg/dL, though it's known that damage occurs at even lower levels. Reducing our children's exposure to lead will be an expensive undertaking that may require government subsidy, but must be done."

Ways to reduce lead exposure:
1. Buy a testing kit with wipes that turn color in the presence of lead, especially if you live in an older home. Move out during any remodels. Wipe down walls regularly and take off shoes to reduce amount of dust tracked in.

2. Have your child's blood-levels checked at 10-12 mos. and at 2 years.

3. Make sure your children eat foods rich in calcium and iron. Pregnant women need adequate calcium so lead is not drawn from their bones into the blood supply.

4. Test household water for lead using an inexpensive screening kit. Replace pipes if they are accessible and appear to be a problem, or get a filter.

5. Dispose of thermometers, batteries, compact fluorescent light bulbs, etc., as hazardous waste.

6. Request lead checks of schools, day care facilities, community centers, wherever children spend time.

7. Avoid fish and get omega-3 fatty acids through a purified fish oil supplement instead. Check state-by-state freshwater warnings at

8. Do not give your children patent remedies from China, India, Mexico, or the Caribbean, which are responsible for up to 30 percent of all cases of childhood lead poisoning.

9. Some candle wicks contain lead as a stiffener, which put enough lead into the air to exceed children's safe daily lead intake. Look for candles guaranteed to be lead free, and be careful in tightly closed rooms.

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