The U.S. Center for disease control sets a limit for “safe” exposure to lead at anything below the 10 micrograms per deciliter threshold. There has been mounting evidence that adverse health effects in children are caused at a much lower levels.
Back when I testified at the Vermont Legislature in support of a Lead in Children’s Products Bill (that did ultimately pass!), I heard compelling testimony from two doctors, who shared (quoted from Non-Toxic Kids):
“At the hearing I listened to the testimony from two doctors, Dr. Best of the George Washington School of Medicine and Dr. Bruce Lanphear, pediatrics professor at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. They explained how new research shows even low levels of lead (blood levels lower than what is considered “safe” at 5 mcg/L )can lead to multiple problems for growing children, such as reading problems, behavioral and attention problems, school failure, and a decreased IQ. Dr. Lanphear said “we should not wait for the CPSC and the EPA” as they often are prompted to act by individual state action, and can’t be counted on to lead the way.
More evidence about the troubling effects of low level lead exposure were reported recently on MSNBC. A new study shares that children who have low levels of lead exposure (under 3.8 mcg/L) had cardiovascular systems that were not a good at handling stress, and that could eventually lead to high blood pressure. This is a preliminary study, but it certainly adds to the chorus of research about the dangers of low level exposures to lead in children.
For busy parents, stay vigilant about the lead issue. It’s in the children’s jewelry at the grocery store, or at the dollar store. It’s in old dishes or tea sets (we have a beautiful one from my aunt that I just tested and it is FULL of lead), vinyl, and despite everyone’s intentions, toys.
image: Love fruit……….. by ANDI2..WHIPLASHED… on Flickr under Creative Commons