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(January 08, 2009)

Kids and lead

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From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I’m Ira Dreyfuss with HHS HealthBeat.

Lead poisoning can cause permanent learning disabilities and behavioral problems. At very high levels, lead poisoning can cause comas, seizures and death. But lead poisoning symptoms might not be noticed at the start.

At the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, lead poisoning expert Mary Jean Brown:

[Mary Jean Brown speaks] ``The most common source of exposures are lead-based paint and dust and soil that are contaminated with lead paint. This contamination often is in the form of paint chips or paint dust.’’

Toys with lead-based paint are less common sources, as well as certain candies imported from Mexico.

Brown says parents need to keep kids away from possible sources of lead, such as peeling paint – for instance, and during home renovations. And she says parents should have kids tested – especially at early ages – if they suspect trouble.

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HHS HealthBeat is a production of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I’m Ira Dreyfuss.

Last revised: January, 08 2009