Hidden Dangers of Lead

Deaths from lead poisoning are now rare, but it is not unusual for a child’s blood to contain enough lead to cause intellectual and developmental delay, neurologic problems, kidney disease, and anemia. Today, lead-based paint is the most common source of lead poisoning in children. Over many years, painted surfaces crumble and become common household dust. Lead-filled soil is another known risk. But some important sources of lead are often overlooked.

Each week the CDC publishes a Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) to highlight important recent trends in health and illness. The August 9, 2002 issue encourages parents to be on the lookout for other, less common sources of lead, such as imported candies (lollipops), pottery and folk remedies. In the US, most of these come from Mexico. Greta and Azarcon are both lead-containing powders that are mixed with liquid and given to children treat stomach or intestinal disorders.

How sad to be tenderly giving something to help your child that hurts him without your knowing.

Published on: August 12, 2002
About the Author
Photo of Alan Greene MD
Dr. Greene is a practicing physician, author, national and international TEDx speaker, and global health advocate. He is a graduate of Princeton University and University of California San Francisco.
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