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Even Small Amounts of Lead Harmful to Kids
Date:9/17/2009

d. "This is the result of years of sloughing off of exterior lead paint," he said. "It's still a big problem, and we haven't begun to attack that in any meaningful way."

Lead exposure also comes from toys coated with lead paint, particularly toys from China and India, Dietrich added.

Dietrich agreed that the CDC should lower the amount of blood lead levels deemed safe. "I strongly believe the CDC should reduce the current level of concern," he said. "It's time to get real about this. 10 [mcg/dl] cannot be justified any longer on the basis of the empirical data."

Another expert, Kim Cecil, a professor of radiology, pediatrics and neuroscience at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, said that "findings reported in this study suggest we need to do more to protect children in their daily environments."

The science is becoming clearer that lead is harming the brain, despite the historically low levels in Western countries, Cecil said.

"From a public health viewpoint, lowering the level of concern would aid in improving cognitive and behavioral outcomes," she said. "Blood lead screening is essential for identifying children at risk of permanent brain injury."

More information

For more on lead poisoning, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.



SOURCES: Kim Dietrich, Ph.D., professor, environmental health, University of Cincinnati; Kim Cecil, Ph.D., professor, radiology, pediatrics and neuroscience, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center; Sept. 17, 2009, Archives of Disease in Childhood, online


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