Because of the Flint Water Crisis, I felt it essential to review Critical Information about Lead Poisoning and Water Safety.

Lead Toxicity In Children…..

 

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4 Million Homes In The U.S. Have High Lead Levels

There is NO SAFE LEAD LEVEL in Children!!!!!!

 

 

Sources of Lead
1. Paint
2. Water
3. Art Supplies
4. Contaminated Dust
5. Gasoline Products (No longer in the U.S. and Canada)

 

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Route of Lead Contamination…..

1. Oral….Ingestion…..Paint…..Dust….Water……Toys and Household Items (Painted before 1976)……Toys (Made Outside The U.S.)…..Pipes and Sink Faucets……Soil Contaminated by Car Exhaust and Chipped Paint…..Storage Batteries…..Kohl or Kajol eyeliner (Found in other countries)

***Lead in Drinking Water Cannot Be Tasted, Smelled or Seen***

***The only way to detect lead in water is to test it****

 

2. Inhalation….Dust containing lead particles or when Burned/Melted
Signs and Symptoms of Lead Toxicity Occur After Months To Years of Exposure (Source…www.heathline.com and www.des.umd.edu):

 

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1. Abdominal Pain/Cramps/Constipation/Loss of Appetite
2. Numbness/Tingling of Extremities
3. Memory Loss
4. Anemia
5. Loss of Developmental Skills in Children
6. Headache/Sleep Disturbances/Irritability
7. Fatigue/Joint Pain/Muscle aches/Clumsiness
8. Kidney Dysfunction
9. High Blood Pressure
10. Behavior Problems
11. Low IQ
12. Growth Delays
13. Learning Difficulties
14. Problems With Hearing
15. Encephalopathy……Confusion/Seizures/Coma
16. Miscarriage/Impotence/Decreased Fertility
17. Nausea/Vomiting
18. Blue Tint To Gums and Under Fingernails

 
Abnormal Lead Levels….

Adult……….Greater than 20 micrograms/deciliter

Children…..Greater than 10 micrograms/deciliter

 

 

Treatment……

 

1. REMOVE SOURCE OF LEAD

2. Chelation Therapy (EDTA)….Binds to Lead, which is then excreted in the urine.

3. Proper Nutrition……Adequate Iron and Calcium may decrease the absorption of lead

4. Decrease lead in tap water by letting the COLD water run for 1 MINUTE

****NEVER COOK or DRINK from the HOT TAP WATER. Hot water dissolves lead more quickly than cold water!!!!!******

5. Have children wash their hands after playing in or outdoors.

6. Instructions for safely removing lead pain can be found on our FACEBOOK Page and on the following sites…..

https://health.ny.gov/publications/2502/   www.nchh.org/Portals/0/Contents/Guide_to_Working_Safely_RLP.pdf

 

Treatment:

THERE IS NO CURE!

Chelation Therapy (EDTA-intravenous (vein) and Intramuscular (muscle) and Succimer-oral agent)
****CHILDREN ARE MORE SUSCEPTIBLE TO LEAD TOXICITY BECAUSE THEIR BRAINS AND BODIES ARE STILL DEVELOPING******

****LEAD POISONING CANNOT BE REVERSED*****

****THE BEST CURE IS PREVENTION!!!!******

 

Essentials To Prevent Lead Poisoning:

1. Make Sure That All Sources of Lead Paint Have Been Removed From Your Home……This is Required By Law!!!

2. As of 2005….All Medicaid eligible children must be screened for elevated lead levels (80% of elevated lead levels have been found in this population of children). Two separate screenings, at one and two years of age. This recommendation also applies to any child who’s family participates in any assistance program, but who for whatever, are not eligible for Medicaid.

Screening is also recommended for children who have immigrated, are refugees or international adoptees.

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3. Routine Medical Evaluations For Adults and Children…..allows screening questions and examination for possible lead exposure.

4. Educate the Public about the Hazards of Lead and How to Avoid Exposure and Poisoning.

5.  The CDC recommends that ALL children, Age 0-6, be tested with annual blood lead levels.
Helpful Resources:
Housing and Urban Development (HUD): 1-(800) RID-LEAD
National Information Center: 1-(800) LEAD-FYI
National Lead Information Center: 1-(800) 424-5323

 

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As always, if you have additional questions, concerns or comments, please post them below this article.

If you have concerns regarding elevated lead levels in your home or community, please notify your local health department and primary care physician.

Please use the resources provided and keep abreast of the FLINT WATER CRISIS.

This is a state of emergency for the entire country.

 

Take care. Be well. Be safe.

Lisa Whitty Bradley, M.D., FACS
CEO & Founder
Chicks With MDs, LLC
www.chickswithmds.com
CDC   Chicago Lead Poisoning Testing    American Academy of Pediatrics     Healthline

References:

http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/
http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/116/4/1036
https://www.des.umd.edu/os/rest/lead.html
http://www.healthline.com/health/lead-poisoning#Overview1