Lead exposure

Ever since my nephews were born a couple of years ago, our family paid attention to any news articles or announcements of toy recalls due to lead poisoning. It leads to a massive toy check where we search though everything to look for the “infected” one. But is it a bit extreme? Of course we want to rid of the toy to protect our children but how much lead will cause an effect and how do we even know if our child or any adult has lead poisoning?

Apparently, toys are not the only things that could increase the amount of lead in our systems. Lead is found in paint in older homes, soil, air due to pollution, industrial equipment, and, sometimes, even our water sources. It gets into our system by skin contact, inhalation, or ingestion. With proper cleaning habits, like washing your hands, we can prevent lead exposure from soil, or plants (watering source). But for your house, the only thing you can do is to cover your walls with wallpaper. To attempt to remove the paint would create paint/lead dust which to increase the exposure risk to your family.

Unless you know that your house is really old and likely was painted with lead-tainted paint, how would you know if your home is exposing your children to harmful chemicals? Symptoms to lead poisoning include stomach issues, such as diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, headaches, memory loss, concentration loss, and muscle weakness. For children, it can lead to smaller growth size, mental or physical impairment, irritability, and reduced attention span. Majority of sources I found mentioned that lead exposure to pregnant women have the same detrimental effects to their fetuses.

So is one small toy that big of a thing to be worried about? It sure is. Even though it’s just one toy, it adds to the concentration of lead in the blood and as it builds up with the other sources of lead, it can potentially reach the harmful amount of lead in the child’s system.

If your kids are anything like my nephew, timeouts usually mean time to lick the wall while complaining. Granted, our walls are pretty clean and have no lead in them, it makes me wonder what else he licks for kicks and giggles. So for the sake of them, I’ll remove what I know to be harmful.

Kathy Phan

http://health.yahoo.com/emergency-poison/lead-poisoning-symptoms/healthwise–aa37228.html
http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/

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~ by phankathy on September 6, 2009.

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