Children and Lead Exposure
Are you concerned about your child’s lead exposure?
According to the Centers for Disease Control, childhood lead poisoning is the number one environmental health risk facing children in industrialized countries today. In the United States, more than three million children age six and younger– that’s one out of every six children — already have toxic levels of lead in their bodies. It is said that 80% of childhood lead poisoning occurs at home. With the current problems with lead found in children’s toys, it is difficult to determine the scope of the potential lead issues in our homes.
Because of their unique physiologies, children and other adults (especially post-menopausal women) are also much more vulnerable to the negative health effects of toxic element exposure. Even tiny amounts of lead can cause reduced IQ, reading and learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder and behavioral problems. As a result, lead poisoning is associated with lower educational achievement, higher school drop-out rates, and increased delinquency. It is estimated that lead poisoning has tripled the number of children needing special education.
How do you know if your child is affected?
Lead stays in the blood about 3 weeks. Most is excreted and the rest goes into the bones and other organs. Therefore, a blood test will only show recent exposure. However, scientific literature supports hair analysis as an accurate, reliable gauge of long-term toxic exposure. Because hair follicles are exposed to the blood supply during growth, elemental concentrations in hair reflect concentration in other body tissues.
My child has elevated levels. What should I do?
Depending on when and how long the child was exposed determines if most lead is concentrated in the blood or other body organs. Should levels be elevated, a variety of detoxification options and lifestyle interventions can be implemented to reduce toxic burden. Ask your doctor for more information.