20 answers

Lead Level in Our 13 Month Old

Hello all. Our 13 month old daughter had her one year test for lead and anemia a month ago and her lead level came back at a 5. Of course, I was upset with this as the national average is 3.2 for a child 1-5 years of age. We live in an old brownstone that we've been renovating slowly but have taken precautions(we go elsewhere when the work is being done for a week here and there), clean up, etc. but apparently this has not prevented exposure. My pediatrician told us not to worry and that he simply wanted to test again in 3 months instead of at 2 years to make sure it is not going up. In the meantime, I have bought a HEPA vacuum and have been mopping every other day and trying to wipe any dust that could be the culprit. As any other mothers experienced this situation? If so, what did you do and did the lead levels go down in your child? As my pediatrician told us, it is not even until a child reaches 30 that they are seen medically for this but I still feel horrible about any lead being present. We weren't stripping any paint and there is no peeling paint on the sills, etc. so I am at a bit of a loss. Any advice?

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

my son had the same: level 5, at 6 months.
call me, i have no time to tyoe, but it have tons of suggestions which helped!

hes fine now!

###-###-####
~ Alex

Hi,
A friend of mine had a similar situation and took several toys away from her children that may have contained lead paint. Even with all the recalls, there are still toys made in China that have lead paint in them. She also changed the kind of sippy cups and bottles she used. Some of the take and toss cups and bottles use plastic that contains a chemical (the name escapes me right now) that has not been proven to cause problems, but is suspected to be harmful.
She did have her twins retested and their lead level came back lower.
Hope it helps!

More Answers

Dear CJ,
I am a doctor with a specialty in pediatric environmental health, so I think I can give you a good answer to your question. I have written research papers about the effects of lead, BPA, plastics, air polution, pesticides, etc on the health of children, so this is what I do every day.
Right now the science on lead exposure is that at any detectable levels below 10, chelation therapy is not recommended, but the source of lead should be identified and avoided or removed. This is because using very soffisticated tests, it has been found that even at those low levels, there are effects that can be observed in exposed children.
My recommendation would be to have you child tested again, since it is true that contamination can be an issue. The hands should be thoroughly washed before the finger stick and blood collected in a special lead-free container for proper analysis. There is no need to wait to do this.

Second, you should have your home tested using XRF. This is a portable X-ray machine that looks like a big camera. You should call a company that uses this technology. They will come, make simple a map of your house and point the machine to every wall, door, window frame, etc. They will give you a very accurate reading of where your lead problem might be. You might be pleasently surprised that the lead may be confined to one small area and then you can take steps to deal with that particular area properly.

As a mother, I also want to tell you that this happened to me. I have a 15 month old girl and she also came up with a lead level of 5. The XRF test showed that the lead was only in a small part of the kitchen and were able to fix the problem over the winter, while we went to Puerto Rico to visit my family and my husband stayed home to deal with the problem.

I commend you for all that you are doing. Using the HEPA filter, wet-wiping and mopping ARE exactly the things to do because it is incorrect to think that the lead exposure only happens when you "eat the paint chips". That is not true as the dust can also contain lead. Also, the idea that "my husband ate paint chips as a child and he is fine" is absolutely insane. We know that lead reduces IQ levels. So if being "fine" means having a few lower IQ points, that is up to your definition of "fine". Regarding your doctor saying that the you don't see the effects of this until "your child reaches 30" is also insane, but not surprising. On average, doctors receive only two hours of environmental health training in med school, so many don't know about these things unless laws are implemented to make them test for lead and other environmental causes of disease. We and many others are trying to change that and educate doctors and government on these issues. That is why we continue to have problems with lead-painted toys and BPA baby bottles in this country.

Again, I want to reasure you that you are taking excellent measures to take care of the problem. Please consider re-testing your little girl properly and doing the XRF testing of your home and you and her will be fine.

Sorry for the long email, but hope it will be useful to you and others.

2 moms found this helpful

I've done research on my own for this because we live in an old house as well. It literally takes a couple of granules of dust to affect a child's levels. This means that it can be brought in from outside if it's in the soil at all, dust in the home, etc. I got these lead test kits and they're basically swabs that tell you if there is lead present on any surface. You know, it could be some of her toys, too. Or, if she goes to a sitter or a daycare, it could be from there. You can google lead test kits and order a couple, they are around 20 bucks for a kit which includes about 5 swabs. You'll want to order a couple of them, I was swabbing everything in sight! Just make sure that your baby has a really nutritious diet because having a diet high in iron is the best defense against lead.

1 mom found this helpful

My son had lead poisoning and the main culprit was our plates that I purchased from a local department store. The FDA came in and tested the plates and they all exceeded prop 65 and some exceeded the FDA guidelines. Never would I have suspected our dinnerware. I went on a quest to find where else lead lurks and co-founded bluedominoes.com Please come check out our articles and information. You can view the video from our ABC interview by following this link. Please check your plates! http://www.10news.com/news/14598237/detail.html

Best regards,
D.
www.bluedominoes.com

1 mom found this helpful

Hi. I know that having a child with Lead exposure can be a very frightening and nerve wracking experience. I own a stained glass company and my daughter (now 4) was born with a lead level of 15. Her lead level is now down below 5 and my son (now 20 mos) was born with a lead level of six. Everything you are doing cleaning wise is correct. You could pay to have a company come in check the lead levels. I contacted the board of health in my town and they came for free. The most important thing you can do for your peace of mind is to contact the Lead Center at the Montefiore Children's Hospital in the Bronx. Unfortunately (or fortunately) there is not enough lead issues in this area for Doctors to have a good working knowledge oflead. Dr. Rosen is incredibly competent and helpful. He can really give you the advice and assurances you need to get through this. Since the body cannot distinguish between lead and calcium I would up the calcium intake in your daughter (eg: oj w/ calcium.) You may also want to consider putting her in Gym, swimming and/or music classes so that she gets plenty of stimulation. It's complicated to explain why here but it helps. My kids are both doing great. Here is the link to the lead clinic. http://www.montefiore.org/newsreleases/2008/February/lead...

Good luck. And try not to make yourself crazy

My son's level at 12 months was 14. How we corrected this problem is we moved. We were renting. THe landloard was not willing to correct the problem so we moved. After the move the levels came down. He had to be tested every month. Then he stopped growing (He only gained 1 pound in 18 months) so he had to have his urine checked every month too (he had protein in his urine which is a sign that the kidneys are not working). They thought he had kidney damage due to the lead exposure. Thank goodness we moved because it all resolved itself. His lead is now 2.5 (he is 6 years old). He has no more protein in the urine. The doctor still tests him once a year just to make sure. We won't know until he is an adult what long term effects there were from the lead exposure. My older son was 3 at the time and his levels were fine. I had to be tested too since I was breastfeeding him and my levels were fine as well. We are not sure why he was effected so badly when none of the rest of us were. He wasn't touching the window sills or walls. I washed the toys he put in his mouth daily too. It was just a freaky thing! Good luck

Hello:

Let me get straight to the point. Don't ever compare yourself with averages especially national averages. Averages are usually based on a controlled setting.

We live in Essex County, NJ where the a great deal of the housing(including ours)is 50+ years old. When my 4 year was tested in school and her lead level came back as 3.5, the nurse administering the testing sent us a note saying that 3.5 was too high and requesting "intervention" in the form of visiting home etc.

Our Pedi told us that concern should arise when this number is 10 or close to it. When we informed the Nurse and declined her intervention, she said that the info was true, however, it was her "personal" goal that every child she examined tested 1.0 or less.

We know a couple who also live in our county, with the same issue - one of their sons tested at 5.0

This couple allowed the "intervention" which spiralled into an unimaginable chain of events. The State inspected the home and found that it contained lead paint. The owners, who are their parents were fined and forced to engage in an expensive lead removal project which never happened. The couple who were living rent free while saving for a home were forced to move out.

The child's health is most important, but please, please do not get alarmed about this without doing your research.

A brownstone is definately a type of home that, no matter what you do, you'll never get all of the lead out. The home renovation is probably the cause of the high level.

As long as your baby isn't literally eating paint chips, and as long as you are monitoring the situation, I am certain that he/she will be fine.

My husband said he ate paint chips as a child and thinks he turned out ok. The jury is still out.;)

About me: Married 15 years, 2 girly, girls aged 4 and 10.

Only level 5? Sweetheart, you have nothing to worry about. In 1996 my son was 4 and tested at 67.6. We had to vacate the house immediately, move somewhere else for six months while he underwent treatment, numerous trips to neurological specialists, and wait for the EPA to solve the problem in our home. (They couldn't)

The highest lead level was found in the soil where he played with his trucks and while I planted flowers. It was due to the landlord scrapping the paint off the porch and window ledges onto the grass. Over time it mixed in with the soil. The horizontal blinds were full of lead as was the internal paint on the staircase and window ledges. Now get this, this was a Government funded house.

So forgive me when I use sarcasm as to your child's level of being "Only" 5.

Now my son is 15 1/2 and has to take medication for the rest of his life and has a learning disability. You better believed I sued the landlord and the Governemnt agency...and won.

There are places where you can get your water tested, soil tested, and even have the EPA come out and test your home and yard. Good luck.

Nanc

my son had the same: level 5, at 6 months.
call me, i have no time to tyoe, but it have tons of suggestions which helped!

hes fine now!

###-###-####
~ Alex

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