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CDC Lowers Amount of Lead Considered Toxic in Children

CDC lowers toxicity level of lead by 50 percent

Our Pennsylvania product liability attorneys have reported on numerous occasions about the dangers posed to children from every-day products – including batteries and magnets.  While both of these pose swallowing hazards to children, some toys have been shown to contain lead which can lead to lead poisoning.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reports that excess lead exposure affects the nervous system and can cause a range of health effects, from behavioral problems and learning disabilities, to seizures and death. The EPA reports that children six years old and younger are most at risk. Some of the adverse affects from lead exposure include: damage to the brain and nervous system; behavior and learning problems, such as hyperactivity; slowed growth; hearing problems; headaches; anemia; and in rare cases of acute lead poisoning from ingestion of lead, seizures, coma and even death.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is well aware of the tragic consequences associated with lead poisoning and for years has been waging a battle to prevent childhood lead poisoning.  Although lead has been banned in products in the U.S. since 1978, it is still prevalent in household paints and can also be found in toys, arts and crafts products, old faucets and house pipes.

Now, at the recommendation of the Advisory Committee on Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention, the CDC has lowered the threshold for acceptable levels of lead in children.   The change by the CDC reduces the definition of lead poisoning from 10 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood to 5 micrograms.

The CDC estimates that 250,000 U.S. children aged 1-5 years have blood lead levels greater than 10 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood.  Dr. John Rosen, a professor of pediatrics and head of the division of environmental sciences at the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City, believes that now as many as 1 million children could be diagnosed with lead poisoning.

Ruth Ann Norton, executive director of the Coalition to End Childhood Lead Poisoning, is one of many safety advocates that applauds the change.  “We are delighted that we have finally moved forward,” she said, adding that the change is “long overdue.”  The initial guidelines were established by the CDC 20 years ago.

To reduce a child’s exposure to lead, the CDC offers the following tips:

  • Remove recalled toys and toy jewelry immediately from children. Although lead has been banned in products in the U.S. since 1978, other countries still use it making it a potential ingredient in imported toys.
  • Make sure your child does not have access to peeling paint or chewable surfaces painted with lead-based paint.
  • Pregnant women and children should not be present in housing built before 1978 that is undergoing renovation. They should not participate in activities that disturb old paint or in cleaning up paint debris after work is completed.
  • Regularly wash children’s hands and toys. Hands and toys can become contaminated from household dust or exterior soil. Both are known lead sources.
  • Regularly wet-mop floors and wet-wipe window components. Because household dust is a major source of lead, parents should wet-mop floors and wet-wipe horizontal surfaces every 2-3 weeks.
  • Use only cold water from the tap for drinking, cooking, and for making baby formula (Hot water is more likely to contain higher levels of lead. Most of the lead in household water usually comes from the plumbing in your house, not from the local water supply.

Our PA personal injury lawyers have seen the devastation the injury from a dangerous toy or product can cause a family.  Lead poisoning cannot be treated with medication and there is no treatment for the ill effects. The only way to “cure” lead poisoning is to prevent it from occurring in the first place.  We applaud the CDC for making this critical change.

About Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys

Munley Law is a Pennsylvania accident and injury law firm that represents car accident victims and their families throughout the state of Pennsylvania and the Northeast, including those injured in accidents that involve speeding, distracted driving, drunk driving, fatigued driving, aggressive driving and careless driving in hazardous weather conditions. The Pennsylvania personal injury law firm’s additional practice areas include trucking accidents, motorcycle accidents, medical malpractice, defective products, toxic chemicals, workplace injuries, nursing home litigation and other serious accidents. To contact the law firm, use the firm’s online contact form.

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