Dr. Maia Alees
Lead poisoning is especially dangerous for kids under the age of six because children’s brains and nervous systems are more sensitive to the damaging effects of lead. Children’s bodies absorb more lead. Babies and young children are especially susceptible because they often put their hands and other objects that may have lead dust on them into their mouths.
The most common health risk associated with lead poisoning is anemia, but there can also be serious, long-term neurological problems. Lead poisoning can also lead to: nervous system and kidney damage; learning disabilities; ADD and decreased intelligence; speech, language and behavior problems; poor muscle coordination; decreased muscle and bone growth; and hearing damage.
Children are exposed to lead through absorbing substances with a high lead count. These can include paint and candy, especially the kind that comes from Mexico. Children are especially at risk if they live in old houses that used paint with a high lead count and where paint is falling off the houses.
Parents and providers should always pay attention to warnings from the health department about the types of foods with a high lead count. Also, on your routine visit to the doctor there is a questionnaire that helps determine whether or not your child is being exposed to lead. Consult your doctor for advice on testing your children. A simple blood test can detect high levels of lead.
If you suspect that your child has been exposed to lead, you should immediately take your child to a pediatrician where the doctor can check the lead count and hemoglobin level in their blood.