Home Shop Locations Wholesale Press About Eco-Friendly Families Policies Contact


Blog

Newsletter

View Your Cart

Sustainable Fashions for the Whole Family

Exquisite, eco-conscious, and sustainably produced Gemstone jewelry offers healing energies for mind, body, and soul.

Eco-fashion… for moms too!
The Original loop style nursing necklace Mothering Rockstm
Celebrate your style while providing safe exploration for your babies while nursing or being held in slings or in your arms.

Eco-Friendly Families

Health Effects of Lead on Children

Children under the age of six—and fetuses—are those at greatest risk of the health effects associated with exposure to lead. They are particularly vulnerable because at that age, their brain and central nervous system are still forming. Lead is a powerful neurotoxin that interferes with the development of these systems as well as the kidney and blood-forming organs. Exposure to lead causes a wide range of health effects, and one of the interesting things about lead is that those health effects vary from child to child.

New research published in the New England Journal of Medicine in April, 2003, indicates that children can lose IQ points at levels of lead in blood below the present official CDC level of concern of 10 micrograms per deciliter (µg/dL). More than ten years ago, the National Academy of Sciences wrote that "There is growing evidence that even very small exposures to lead can produce subtle effects in humans [.and] that future guidelines may drop below 10µg/dL as the mechanisms of lead toxicity become better understood." (Measuring Lead Exposure in Infants, Children, and Other Sensitive Populations, National Academy Press, 1993, page 3.) As it turns out, today there is widespread recognition of the fact that there is no such thing as a "safe" level of lead exposure.

Even low levels of exposure to lead can result in IQ deficits, learning disabilities, behavioral problems, stunted or slowed growth, and impaired hearing. At increasingly high levels of exposure, a child may suffer kidney damage, become mentally retarded, fall into a coma, and even die from lead poisoning. Lead poisoning has been associated with a significantly increased high-school dropout rate, as well as increases in juvenile delinquency and criminal behavior.

It is often difficult for a parent to realize on their own that their child may have too much lead in their blood. The symptoms of lead poisoning can be subtle—they are often easily confused with other, less worrisome problems. For instance, a child may exhibit symptoms similar to those associated with the flu, such as stomach aches and headaches. Other typical symptoms include irritability and loss of appetite. The bottom line is: the only way to know for sure whether or not a child has a lead-related problem is to get the child tested for lead.

Currently, there is no known effective treatment for children who have blood lead levels under 45µg/dL—the vast majority of children exposed to lead. Kids whose lead level is greater than or equal to 45µg/dL should immediately receive chelation therapy, a medical treatment that draws some of the lead out of their system.

One way to reduce the impact of lead exposure is to reduce the amount of lead that gets absorbed or retained by the child. On average, children under six will absorb/retain about 50% of the lead they ingest. That percentage can be reduced through good nutrition, including adequate levels of calcium, iron, vitamin C, and zinc. The consumption of fatty foods should be kept to a minimum, although children under the age of two actually need some fat in their diet. And a child whose stomach is empty will absorb/retain more lead than a child who has just eaten.

Similarly, pregnant women should be careful to minimize their exposure to lead, as lead crosses the placenta and adversely affects the developing fetus.

1121 Spring Lake Drive
Itasca, IL 60143-3201
(630) 285-1121
(630) 285-1315 fax
info@nsc.org

Permission to reprint granted by the National Safety Council, a membership organization dedicated to protecting life and promoting health.

Back to Articles

SITE MAP

©2004 - 2017 Little Gems Jewelry • Powered by merchantmoms.com
Website Design by Metzalli