A recent article (October 2016) appeared in the Journal of Pediatrics about very high lead levels in 145 children in New York City. I mean very high–greater than 45 ug/dL. If you know anything about blood lead levels you’ll realize that those levels are huge. Scientists now know that even levels around 5-10 ug/dL cause problems in brains of children, and some scientists say that there are no safe lead levels. ADHD-type symptoms, developmental delays, and autism can result from high lead levels.
So how did these children in this study get such high levels? Many lived in very old buildings. Some put lead paint chips in their mouth or even ate them (they taste sweet). Other children ate soil or sand. 82% of the children in this study had homes with lead paint hazards. 37 % homes had engaged in home repairs. Some children had household members engaged in occupations or hobbies at risk for lead exposures. Imported spices, cosmetics and medicines and other products such as pottery and jewelry have been linked to lead-poisoning in children.
Does your child engage in any of those activities or is exposed to products that might contain lead? If yes, see your doctor for a blood lead level. This could save your child’s life!