Lead is very dangerous and may be hiding around us

Lead is a heavy metal that plays havoc with the human nervous system. Over time lead can build up in the body. For children under age 6, lead is devastating to mental and physical health. Most small children get lead poisoning from chewing on things covered with lead paint. (i.e. toys, plates or windowsills in older homes [paint chips].)



Lead contaminated plate


Many years ago, I worked with a family whose child started having lots of problems in school. The 3rd grader went from top marks to failing grades over a 6 month period. It turned out that the family had taken a trip to Mexico over the Christmas holiday. The boy got a cup and bowl from a bazaar. He loved his cup and bowl and used it at almost every meal. You have probably guessed it, the cup and bowl were not made safely and contained a high level of lead. After treatment, all was well... but, it does go to show that lead is very dangerous.

Learn more about the symptoms of lead poisoning from the Mayo Clinic.

This week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention changed the regulations concerning lead in the body. The CDC will no longer state a particular level is safe in children.  It now states that no level of lead in the blood stream is safe. The goal is to focus on eliminating exposure to lead.

Read the CDC report, a free PDF download.

The lead contaminated plate pictured above was part of a study conducted by Thomas Jefferson University Hospital's physician Gerald O'Malley, DO, a toxicologist and the director of clinical research and emergency medicine. More information on how to check items like toys or plates.

Plates that are sold as "decorative" are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. That means that these may have lead in them, and outside the state of California they are not required to let you know. If you handle a decorative plate, even just to dust it, it is advisable that you wash your hands before eating or touching your face.


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