Childhood lead poisoning
One of the most natural things a young child does is to place objects in its mouth. Touching and tasting is how infants learn. However, the combination of a developing brain, young body and this tendency to put things in their mouths is what puts young children at risk of lead poisoning. Not just directly from touching objects like toys that could be covered with lead based paint, but because the lead is present in tiny dust particles that get onto toys, in the soil, and on other interesting objects in the child’s every day environment.
Lead is dangerous for young children at lower levels than it is for adults because it affects the developing brain and their bodies absorb it more easily, especially in the gut. Lead poisoning in young children can lead to lower IQ, learning disabilities and behavioural problems. MORE ON LEAD AND CHILDREN HERE
With all the brouhaha about the recall of the millions of toys and related products with lead manufactured in China, most of the emphasis was on children outside of China.
However, studies show and are revealing more and more that chinese children have an ongoing and daily relationship with lead.
From Beijing: Parents around the world may have been shocked this week when 1.5mn Chinese-made Fisher-Price toys were recalled because of excessive lead content, but for mums and dads in China lead poisoning is just a fact of life.
A childhood development specialist at Peking University’s Health Science Centre said that the worry is not about big toy makers but about small factories. It is a matter of money and choice. Some Chinese parents cannot afford better, so they buy the cheapest on the stall.
Apparently toys are not the biggest threat. China has phased out leaded petrol, but house paint, old pipes and buildings and belching factories are still big sources of lead.
A study of Chinese cities in 2004 found that 10.5% of children had lead levels in their blood of at least 100 microgrammes per litre — a level considered unhealthy by the World Health Organisation. MORE ON CHINA AND LEAD HERE
SEOUL : Officials at U.S. military hospitals across the Pacific said parents who are concerned about recent toy recalls can have their children tested for lead exposure.
Many base medical officials contacted Friday said infants are regularly screened for lead exposure during routine checkups.
On U.S. bases in South Korea, parents are provided with “The Well Baby Handbook,” which provides an overview of the screening process and a seven-question questionnaire that parents and medical personnel fill out during an infant’s six-month checkup and during yearly physicals between ages 2 and 6. MORE ON US BASES AND LEAD POISONING HERE
United States: Children can be exposed to lead from lead-based paint in older buildings, or from contaminated soil near highways where vehicles once used leaded gasoline. Lead levels in children have dropped since lead was banned from both paint and fuel, but they remain significant. In 1990 the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) established as a national goal reducing lead blood levels to no greater than 25 micrograms per deciliter (the equivalent of 250 parts per billion) by 2000 and no greater than 10 micrograms per deciliter (100 parts per billion) for 2010. The department’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) currently estimates that 300,000 American children, aged one to five years, have lead blood levels greater than the 2010 objective. Research reports also provide evidence of adverse effects at an even lower lead blood level than that of the 2010 target among children younger than 72 months.
CDC Lead Poisoning Prevention in Newly Arrived Refugee Children: Tool Kit
The CDC Lead Poisoning Prevention Program in conjunction with the Office of Refugee Resettlement developed the Lead Poisoning Prevention in Newly Arrived Refugee Children tool kit in response to the increasing number of refugee children entering in the United States…MORE ON THIS HERE
Some vinyl baby bibs made in China and sold at Toys “R” Us stores contain lead levels well above federal safety limits for lead in paint, a California environmental group said Wednesday.
A bib with “Winnie the Pooh” characters and store-brand bibs sold under the Koala Baby and Especially for Baby labels all tested positive for lead in concentrations three to four times what the Environmental Protection Agency allows in paint, according to the Center for Environmental Health in Oakland.