In the past 40 years, parents and health care providers have become increasingly aware of the detrimentale effects associated with lead in a child’s bloodstream. For this reason, most children are tested for lead exposure at a few different points in life, and, if levels of the heavy metal are high enough, the child may begin treatment for its damaging effects.
The most common cause of lead poisoning in children is exposure to lead paint, but there are also several other surprising causes of lead poisoning in children. Here are a few sources of lead that you may not know about.
Your child may be exposed to lead from playing outside. If your house has– or once had– outdoor lead paint, particles may have settled in your yard. An area that was once exposed to heavy traffic may also have high levels of lead in its soil, due to the historic use of lead gasoline. When your child plays on contaminated soil, some of this lead may enter his bloodstream, contributing to the possibility of lead poisoning.
Lead is present in infant formula, so breastfeeding is an excellent method for preventing lead poisoning. However, surprisingly, some babies are exposed to lead in their mothers’ breast milk. If the mother has a very high level of lead in her own blood, she may pass amounts of lead to the baby in high enough quantities to cause lead poisoning. If you have a history of clinical lead poisoning, and levels are still high during and after pregnancy, you may not be able to breastfeed.
Almost all water in the United States is safe to drink and free of significant levels of harmful contaminants. However, some municipalities– including a few areas of Washington, D.C., have municipal water with lead levels exceeding EPA recommendations. These are a surprising cause of lead poisoning in children, but it is worthwhile to use a filter to minimize the risk to your child.
Some imported foods, including canned goods and some spices, may contain excessive levels of lead. If your child routinely eats imported foods, his pediatrician may recommend extra evaluations to make sure that these are not contributing to lead poisoning. Whenever possible, choose foods grown locally and select fresh vegetables instead of canned goods.
Source Used- PEDIATRICS Vol. 116 No. 4 October 2005, pp. 1036-1046