March 10, 2007,
T.B. asks from Milwaukee, WI on March 07, 2007
18 Month Old Son Just Diagnosed with Lead Poisioning "Exposure"
I got a letter in the mail from children's hospital saying my son had a 12 on his lead test. all the letter said was from 10 -14 was a definite lead exposure. It said to make him a doctor's appointment and nothing else. I am scared to death and I know lead can cause all sorts of problems for kids. His appointment isn't for another week and I don't have a clue what I should be doing or not doing for him. If anyone has any advice or information that could help me I would greatly appreciate it.
So What Happened?™
Thank you to everyone who had advice for me. I managed to get my son in to the doctor's office today due to someone's cancellation. She said it is a pretty low level and that after they get the results from today's test they will decided what they will do medically if anything. A woman from the health department came by yesterday and made an appointment with me for tomorrow. I know in my heart that the lead came from this house which is in awful condition. There is mold in a lot of places the kitchen cabinets are rotten and swollen not to mention the peeling paint on the walls and floor in the laundry room. The worst part is my family lives on city owned property.
J.H. answers from Milwaukee on March 07, 2007
Your child could be exposed to lead in your water
(do you live in a city with old lead pipes?) or from ingesting old, peeling (lead based) paint. Surely, you would want to limit any additional exposure, if you can figure out where it is coming from. Otherwise, there is not much you can do, but try not to worry. If you are really concerned, call your pediatrician's office, and ask if they can move up the appointment, or speak to the nurse. Good luck!
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P. answers from Milwaukee on March 08, 2007
I am sorry to hear you are going through this. The first thing I will tell you is that it WILL be okay! My daughter was also diagnosed with lead exposure at the age of two. We bought an old farm house, and unbenounced to us, the owners son had recently painted all the interior windowsills with lead paint. I completely understand how you feel. Sammy's levels were at 11, and I completely freaked out, wanted to sue the previous owners (we had the house only 1 year). The thing you need to remember is that levels of 10 or more are reportable, meaning the dr. is legally responsible for reporting the levels to your local health department. Keep in mind that this also means that your child is on the very most LOW end of the spectrum! And, levels where children display actual symptoms of lead exposure are MUCH higher (around 40 or so), of course this does not mean that you don't need to act immediately, I am just trying to reassure you that your son is going to be okay! Here is what will happen; the health department will contact you, or you can even call them - they are there to help you! They know this is something that has happened to you - not something you did. They will give you advice on how to proceed, if I remember correctly, they sent us to the hardware store, like ACE hardware, who carries lead detection kits. Since we were ready to completely tear the house apart, it was indispensable in finding exactly where the lead was coming from, which was the old paint - my husband even found the old paint can the previous owners used on a shelf in the garage. We had grandma & grandpa help take my daughter for the weekend, and went to town on the windowsills - first sanding all the old paint off, then priming the "heck" out of them and painting with super resistant paint . . . this was the quick fix that the health department recommended, the next year, we tore everything out, replaced all the windows (& sills) and remodeled our whole first floor - which we had planned to do when we first bought the house. You should test every painted area in your house, as well as your water (from all sinks), and someone had previously posted, if you live in an older home, there may be lead water pipes, which you can also fix by going to the store and buying a water purifier that attaches directly to your faucet. Another not well known fact is that some plastic miniblinds are also made with some lead content, which can produce a lead "dust" that can be incindentally ingested by young children, you can also test these with the detection kit, and take them down & throw them out if needed. Your Dr. will want to test your son regularly for about a year, to make sure his levels go down & stay down. Sammy's levels dropped to 5 after only one month post our abatement. As I stated before, your local health department will (SHOULD) have you all the information you need. But please remember - this is NOT your fault, lead is a silent, undetectable poison by they naked eye. Which is exactly why drs and hospitals test for it. For more info, please check out: http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/ and I wish you the best of luck.
Sorry this post is soooo long ladies!
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C.J. answers from Minneapolis on March 07, 2007
Definitely change his water source, but I DEFINITELY wouldn't give him bottled water! Multiple studies have shown over 50% of bottled waters contained levels of e coli & other bacteria too high for safe consumption. There is NO regulation of bottled water, whereas there is for tap. Definitely have your pipes checked, but if they're fine, just use a filter. Reverse osmosis is best.
For now, I would buy him gallons of Spring Water - the healthiest anyone can have.
I know how to detox for adults, but i don't know for children. There are products available at natural medical suppliers that you can take internally (herbal) that bind to the heavy metal & excrete it out of your system.
Trust me, I'm a skeptical person & I've gone tried seeing many different holistic practitioners. He's the smartest person I've ever met, and most of the time, he's steering me AWAY from products & telling me which things are scams.
The easiest thing I can think of (but you should still research effect on small child) is just giving him an epsom salt bath. Epsom salts are very cheap, available at most food stores (I know they have at Wedge, Seward & North Country Coop). Pour into a warm bath, and they will draw the toxins out of the body.
And LOTS OF WATER!!! I would avoid all other liquids (except breastmilk). Water is the best purifier to flush toxins.
Good luck to all of you. Peace.
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K.M. answers from Milwaukee on March 07, 2007
You need to start your baby on a low low low fat diet. The lead gets stored in the fat in your body, so you want him eating lots of fruits and veggies and things that will pass through the body quickly.
Someone who lived in the same building as I did, her daughter scored a 10 on her lead screen and was almost hospitalized, I would definately make sure that the doctor's office knows that the high result is why you're scheduling the appointment and see if they cant get him in sooner, and find out what else you can be doing in the mean time.
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P.K. answers from Minneapolis on March 07, 2007
I have no idea what you shold do medically. Hopefully someone will be able to help you with that.
However, I had a friend who had kids who were exposed. They had to take some drastic measures to ensure that their house was safe and the children were not exposed even further. Repainting your house, or who ever's house he had been exposed. I'd do my best to find the source of the exposure.
You can also call your City and they might know of an inspector that could come to your house and do lead testing to ensure that you're house is safe.
A.C. answers from Minneapolis on March 10, 2007
My daughter also had lead in her system when she was 18 months old. Her doctor told me to give her 1/2 of a flinstones vitamin. She explained to me as long as she's on a healty diet and taking the vitamin her body will naturally push the lead out. Mine is now 4 and is smart as a whip. She now takes a full vitamin everyday and is doing really good. Oh, I would also have the other children tested as well.
I hope this helps and good luck.
C.W. answers from Milwaukee on March 08, 2007
My son was also diagnosed with lead poisoning years ago when he was 5; he is now 18. Usually they put children on a high protein diet. If that doesn't work they will probably use an oral chetalation drug. My son was also PKU (a genetic disorder where he has to eat lo protein foods) so he couldnt do the high protein diet and ended up using the chetalation drug. They took blood tests to check for lead levels every week and then later every month. His level was over 19 at one point. Because of the PKU it took 4 - 5 years to rid the lead from his body but I want you to know he is perfectly healthy with no ill effects from the lead poisoning.
They found our home to have lead in it as it was built in 1926 so the home had to be tested and rid of lead. We ended up living with my grandma while this was being done.
I hope this helps you some.
S.F. answers from Minneapolis on March 07, 2007
Wow, I can't believe they just sent you a letter. No phone call? I would have given birth to a cow if I'd gotten a letter like that! :) To put yourself at ease, I'd call the pediatrician. They should be empathetic to your concerns. Good Luck!!!!
K.K. answers from Minneapolis on March 10, 2007
I'm way too tired to look up the details about lead, it sounds like your doing the right thing. But keep in mind that lead "poisioning" and lead "exposure" are 2 different things.
I also just wanted to add that if you think about it logically, Spring water would be the best place to go to find your E. Coli & other bacteria, and it's not like all the kids in your neighborhood are getting lead exposure from you tap water, right??
B.H. answers from Minneapolis on March 07, 2007
Call the nurse line immediately, make a appointment with your pediatrician asap.
In the mean time I would only give your child bottled water, and investigate your house and look for peeling paint and things your child could have been exposed to.
I would also have your other children and yourself tested if you have not done so lately.
A.M. answers from La Crosse on March 08, 2007
There also can be high levels of lead in cheap metals. If your child is playing with (ie sucking or chewing on) cheap necklaces, old metal toys, watches, etc... he could be exposed to lead this way. My friend's daughter was exposed to lead through a cheap metal watch that she liked to chew on. Any reasonable hardware store will sell inexpensive lead tests. If you are in an older house, you should check the door jams and window sills. Lead paint is a problem when it's loose and chipping or flaking. This happens a LOT around doors and windows when the woodwork is painted. (Older varnishes can also contain lead, so even if your woodwork isn't "painted" there can still be lead.) Most city water shouldn't contain enough lead to be a problem... if you have your own well that's a different story. And call your doctor and let them know how worried you are, and ask if there's anything you can do right now to help. I agree, lots of water to flush it out can't hurt. Good luck!