The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisory committee report released in January states that the number of children affected by lead poisoning may be much higher than previously thought, suggesting that even low levels of lead exposure can be detrimental to kids.
A report by the Advisory Committee on Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention examines the effects of lead-based paint found in older homes has on children and finds that even low levels of lead can be harmful to kids, affecting cognitive functions, cardiovascular health, and the immune system. The CDC's advisory committee is now recommending a shift in priorties from screening blood level in kids to instead a primary prevention strategy, aiming to prevent lead exposure in the first place.
The committee is also recommending that the CDC ask pediatricians to counsel parents on how to assess the risk of the lead exposure in their own homes.
"This report sends a message that by the time lead posining is detected, the child has suffered irreparable damage," says Robert Weitz, a principal with RTK Environmental Group, an environmental testing company serving Westchester, Fairfield, and Bergen counties. "What the report says is that our focus needs to be on detecting lead in the home so it can be removed before the child's health is harmed."
Although lead poisoning may be caused from peeling paint chips in older homes, that is not the most common cause of lead poisoning, according to the CDC. It is the microscopic lead dust that is released when a window is opened or a surface is sanded.
"People don't have a clue that the danger exists," Weitz says.
To increase public awareness about the risks of lead dust, RTK Environmental Group has launched the Bust Lead Dust campaign.
To learn more about the risks of lead poisoning, visit http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/.