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Lead Poisoning in U.S. Children

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have issued a report stating that 1 in 38 children in the U.S that are ages 1 through 5 have lead poisoning.

This preventable health risk has most likely increased due to the CDC having changed the lead exposure guidelines last year. This has been the first change regarding lead levels in over 2 decades.

The modification is now half of the previous amount, with a level of 5 as the newer cutoff. The number was reduced due to increasing research which shows how destructive lead is to the human system.

Lead is especially harmful to growing children. It can cause developmental delays, problems with attention span and alter intellectual ability. It also has a number of detrimental, physical health complications including neurological issues, organ dysfunction and even death at higher toxicity levels.

Lead is a lingering environmental contaminate. There is no safe level of lead in the bloodstream, and the problems correlated with lead poisoning are often irreversible.

The U.S. Congress made the decision to get rid of CDC funding that was reserved for national lead exposure and poisoning awareness programs. Programs like these helped to monitor levels of lead in children as well as to pinpoint sources of lead in their environment so cautionary actions could be taken.

Lead exposure can lurk in a variety of places, and since small children are notorious for putting things in their mouth they can accidentally ingest the substance which is then internally stored. The main causes of children being exposed are from dust particles in houses that are lead positive and from polluted soil. Lead dust can settle on playthings, clothing, countertops and nearly all surfaces in the home. Soil holds lead that comes from lead-based paints as well as other environmental pollutants like emissions.

Other objects that may possibly be made with lead can include things like unregulated toys, jewelry, cosmetics and dishes. Occupations or hobbies in which lead is used for material production is also a concern. Some sources of drinking water can even contain lead.

Though we all try to do the best for the children in our lives, they cannot yet advocate for their own rights; Law and policy makers should be putting children’s health at the forefront of their obligatory duties. Those left with high levels of lead in their systems face ongoing learning and health problems and it is a disservice to them not to provide ongoing, basic lead prevention programs.

National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week is held every October during the last full week of the month. During this week, the CDC tries to bring widespread attention to the dangers and potential sources of lead as well as the significance of screening young children.

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