Lead Poisoning: Is Your Child at Risk of the Brain Injury?

One of the more common forms of brain injury in children is lead poisoning, with approximately 250,000 children ages one through five in the U.S. having blood lead levels that require the initiation of public health actions (according to the CDC).  Although lead poisoning "can affect nearly every system in the body," says the CDC, lead poisoning is considered "a head injury; a brain injury," according to Dee Tipton, the coordinator for the Lead Poisoning Prevention Program in Clinton County, Ohio.  In California, 3,172 children under six years old tested positive for lead poisoning in 2006, with many other children going untested (statistic reported by CDC).

Tipton explains that “pediatricians recommend [testing for lead poisoning] at a year old" because lead poisoning will have already caused damage by the time a child turns one year old if that child has suffered from it throughout the year.  Tipton explains the testing process as it is handled in her state:  a blood test is used to determine if a child is suffering from lead poisoning, which can be done in the arm or through a prick of the finger.  When a child's blood lead levels are 10 or above, a second test is done.  A third test is required three months later if the second test results in a level of 15 or higher.  If the third test yields a result of 15 or higher as well, an investigation is required, which also occurs when the first test reveals a level of 20 or higher.  When it is found that a child has elevated lead levels, homeowners are contacted and given important information.

According to Tipton, recent increases in the numbers of people remodeling houses have resulted in elevated lead levels in children (as compared to building or buying new homes).  Since children don't typically eat paint chips, chew on window sills, or eat "dirt that has lead-based paint in it," the main source of lead poisoning resulting in high levels for children is dust.  Dust from a windowsill that children play near, for example, may be a hazard, especially since such fine lead dust cannot be seen.

Not only is it difficult to see lead in situations such as the one above, but it is also difficult to recognize the symptoms of lead poisoning.  Stomach aches and lethargy can be signs of the condition but, typically, symptoms are not "bad enough that we see any real physical evidence at first,” reports Tipton.  In fact, often the first time consequences are seen is when a child suffers learning or behavioral problems at age four or five.

Such learning or behavioral problems demonstrate the fact that lead poisoning is a brain injury.  Don't put your child at risk of suffering from lead poisoning later.  Get your child tested as soon as possible, and feel free to contact child brain injury attorney Chris Keane with your most pressing questions.  After spending years as an advocate for children with head and brain injuries, he has worked with the best medical experts in the field, and he will consult with you for free regarding your unique situation.

Contact Chris Keane online
or call 1-888-592-KIDS (1-888-592-5437).
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California Child Abuse and Child Injury Lawyer