Lead Poisoning

A rising concern for any parent is the risk of lead poisoning from toys that can affect their child's development. Be sure to check out recent recalls on toys or playsets that your child may play with. The CPSC website has all the recent recalls to help keep your child safe. These toys were manufactured outside of the U.S. and have been found to have lead in them.

Recently the CPSC concluded that test kits available to the public via stores, such as hardware stores, are not adequate for detecting lead on surfaces, such as toys. It is best to hire a professional to do testing if you suspect you have lead in your home.

 

There are other concerns over lead poisoning in children that are not associated with toys.

Lead and Paint

Lead poisoning is usually a result of exposure to small amounts of lead over a prolonged amount of time, although acute exposure to a large amount can be just as harmful. The primary cause over the years has been exposure to high levels of lead in paint. Houses built before 1978 generally are most at risk of having lead paint. When paint starts to chip and peel, it can become harmful if children place it in their mouths and digest it. If you have an older home and have concerns, you should test the paint.

Expert Lead Analysis

If you are suspicious of high levels of lead in your home, your first step should be to call in an expert to test whatever area you feel is contaminated. For water, this would be your local water authority. For toys, check recalls periodically.

Lead Poisoning Symptoms

Lead poisoning is usually a time-concentrated process, so symptoms do not show until the body has reached its most concentrated and chronic state. At this point, symptoms may include: nausea, stomach pain, stomach cramps, constipation, diarrhea, excessive vomiting, chronic fatigue, headaches, muscle weakness and progressed tooth decay.

Prolonged exposure to levels of lead can affect your child's development, causing coordination and learning problems. Behavioral problems can also be a sign of lead poisoning.

If you see any of these signs and are concerned that your child is suffering from lead poisoning, it is always best to take your child to see your primary physician. Your child's doctor can run a variety of tests to check for high levels of lead, including blood and urine tests and X-rays of the stomach and bones to check for lead deposits. Depending on the extent of the exposure, treatment may or may not be a simple process.

Treatment will usually entail removal of the source of exposure and special drugs called chelation agents that will be given to the patient to rid the body of deposits. After the body has been fully cleansed, a proper balanced diet will be prescribed to get the body's immune system back on track. In some cases, damage to the body may be permanent and not reversible.

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