D.B. asks from Cleveland, OH on June 19, 2008
Advice About a 1 Year Old with High Lead Level
At a well baby visit recently my son's lead level was checked. They called me back and told me that his level was 15.6!! and the "acceptable" range is 0 to 4.9! I'm worried they didn't say he had lead poisoning but that number is way out of range. Also, the nurse said that they had to inform the Dept. of Health, and they should be contacting me soon. I don't know where he's getting the lead from, we're renting and our house was built in 1926, but lead paint was outlawed in the '70s, and I know the landlord would have painted a dozen times over by now. The nurse gave me some pamphlets to read and they are very confusing and depressing. They say keep him away from dust, buy a sponge mop instead of a string mop, recently I got rid of the sponge mop cause it didn't clean as well. Then it goes on to say that even the smallest amount of lead can cause damage to the nervous system(brain), harm hearing,growth, and IQ scores. If more lead builds up, he could get clumsy,weak and lose skills he recently learned and he just learned to walk. Help please I'm freaking out, Can anyone tell me about foods high in calcium and iron,(we're vegetarians) also, should my landlord be held responsible if the Dept. of Health finds lead here?
L.G. answers from Cleveland on June 20, 2008
Unless all lead-based paint had been completely removed at some point, there is always a chance that small dust and chips can become loose - even if it has 20 layers on non-lead paint. But, before you panic about the house you live in, know that lead could come from many sources.
I live in an old house that was built in 1919. My husband and I had done numerous renovations before we had children. I am sure that it stirred up all kinds of paint dust - much of it has ended up in the carpeting that a vacuum can't pick up and as well as our duct system which we have not yet had cleaned 8 years later. We had also learned that many old houses often have old lead water lines that supply water to the house from the city. These are underground and you may never know.
Once we started having kids, I decided to start finding out if lead was an issue in our home. I had our water tested - no detectable lead. I had my son tested, no issues there either. Since he was fine, I figured that's what mattered and stopped pursuing other tests.
So, my suggestion is this. Buy lead testing kits and have your landlord take them off your rent. Test the water, test for paint chips (swab all painted surfaces as well as ducts), and test all toys especially the ones that end up in your child's mouth.
Personally, anything that is brightly colored that says "Made In China" and can be easily accessed and played with by your baby/kids, I'd throw out. I am sure you're familiar with the kids' toys lead poising recalls that were going on. All of them were brightly colored and Made in China. Dollar Store toys are often big culprits of selling these toys.
Do whatever detective work you need to find out where it's coming from. For all you know, your baby could have received the exposure from a babysitter's house or the toys they had supplied him with.
If it is from the house, if possible, simply move. Even if you have a lease, I don't think that will hold up in court due to the lead hazard.
Best of luck and God Bless.
1 mom found this helpful
K.S. answers from Cleveland on June 21, 2008
Unfortunately an old house may by nature cause high levels of lead in children especially if it was renovated recently. We live in an old house(built in the 20's also) I'm hoping my little one doesn't test high for lead but if he does I feel like our only option is to move. A friend of mine had her son test high for lead about 20 years ago when they were renovating their house, he graduated from high school and is going to college next year so don't worry too much just yet. Also, if your baby has a lot of painted plastic or wood toys you may want to have those tested. I personally don't buy too many plastic toys that the boy can fit into his mouth but you can't police everything, all the time. I don't think I would be as concerned about food unless it has been grown in a bed with high lead content(lead can leach into the surrounding ground). Good Luck and keep us posted!!
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P.Z. answers from Cleveland on June 20, 2008
just as an fyi~ in case you didn't know, as I did not...
A friend of my daughter's from preschool is autistic. her mom told me that Autistic people tend to retain heavy metals in their body. That retention causes autistic-like symptoms, which makes it very hard to figure out what is really going on with your child. I'm not saying that this is your child, but we live in a very toxic society. This girl's lead levels are high now and she lives in a new build! They have to go back to detoxing her system through lotions, and suppliments, which is hard on little ones. If you want to investigate this, you might have to ask/insist your docter help...or even change doctors! depending where you live, you might be able to find a homiopathic general practicioner also. good luck!
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K.L. answers from Cleveland on June 21, 2008
One small suggestion, if you're worried about lead in the water lines, Brita filters are supposed to remove most lead but still allow flouride to pass through.
J.A. answers from Cleveland on June 20, 2008
Hi D. B,
I am hoping you have found some more clear information on lead. While the house probably has been painted over a lot since 1926, the lead paint layers are probably still underneath and if the paint peels at all it could be an issue.
You should also check the list of toys manufactured in China that have been found to have unacceptably high lead levels if your son is young enough to still be putting everything in his mouth. Has the doctor offered you any helpful suggestions? How I wish I knew more about this for you, but call and ask a ton of questions. Is there something that can be done immediately to bring down his lead levels? The Board of Health should be able to help as well, but I'd call or go online and check out any information you can find. I will pray that all goes well and your son will be fine very soon!