Lead Poisoning

Earlier this month, there was a news item on TV about a local family whose daughter was suffering from lead poisoning.  She had a lead blood level 9x higher that what is recommended as acceptable by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). 

The national news stories last year about Flint, Michigan's lead-contaminated water supply may have heightened our awareness of the dangers of lead pipes, but that is not how the little girl in the news story was poisoned.  Many of us may also know about the dangers of children eating lead paint chips (apparently it has a sweet taste), but there is another danger of which I was not aware.  Instead, it appears that this child inhaled lead dust from the house, which was built in the 1880's. 

According to the CDC, any house built before 1978 is likely to contain some lead-based paint.  (Just now realized that means my house!)  It is the deterioration of the paint that is the concern.

Be aware that a child exposed to lead may have no symptoms.  Other children may have headaches, stomachaches, decreased appetite, sleep problems, or seem hyperactive or irritable.  These are common symptoms so it is no wonder that parents or professionals would not suspect lead as a cause.  

Lead poisoning can cause many neurological symptoms that may not be apparent immediately and persist over time, even after lead levels have been reduced

For detailed information about lead poisoning, please check out the CDC's website regarding lead: https://www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/

The little girl in the news story did have a much reduced lead level upon follow-up, but it was still higher than normal.  The family reports that now it is a waiting game to see if there is any permanent damage.  The news item also reported that the family had invested $50,000 in home renovations to make it safe.