Toxic lead levels in children is a growing concern, not only in the United States, but across the globe where even small amounts of lead can be damaging to the brain. Recent contaminated toy and jewelry products from China containing high levels of lead has raised concern that lead, once thought to have been reduced significantly from the environment in the United States is now once again a serious public health concern. Toxic lead levels in children has serious consequences for brain function and has in part contributed to the increase in attention deficit disorders. The CDC is issuing strong warnings about Lead toxicity in children, stating, “Protecting children from exposure to lead is important to lifelong good health. No safe blood lead level in children has been identified. Even low levels of lead in blood have been shown to affect IQ, ability to pay attention, and academic achievement. Effects of lead exposure cannot be corrected.”
Toxic lead levels in children have been a problem for decades. For years lead was used in paint used in homes across the United States. This exposure source became more concerning as homes aged and paint weathered and chipped providing sources of lead deposited throughout the home environment, especially if eaten by small children. In the 1970’s lead based pain was banned in the United States, but around the world these bans do not always take effect and therefore can remain as a source of toxic lead in children. Other sources of toxic lead exposure for children has been various household goods such as bathtubs and ceramics even though the Environmental Protection Agencies campaign against environmental lead exposure has helped reduce the exposure risk of toxic lead levels in children, exposures still occur.
A superior way of assessing for toxic lead levels in children is through hair analysis testing. Hair Analysis provides assessment of lead exposure over many months to years and is reflective of accumulated stores of lead in the body. Even when blood levels are normal, hair analysis testing can still be high showing tissue accumulation that has moved beyond transient blood circulation. Therefore, performing Hair Analysis Testing is an excellent screening test for toxic lead levels in children, that can also be followed up if deemed necessary by blood testing.
Dr. Woeller says, “Over the years testing for chemical toxicity, including toxic lead levels in children, has been mostly done through blood sampling. The problem is unless the values where quite high not much was done for a child as it was misunderstood how bad the problem could be. Research data now shows that there is really no safe level of lead in the blood and that any level could be a problem.”
Testing early can mean a huge difference to parents of children who may have been subjected to lead toxicity. Parent Steven Neals states, “I had no idea how sick my little girl was getting. After months of testing, we finally found the culprit- a small toy I’d brought her from a business trip. I never thought something so benign could cause so much everlasting damage.”
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