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Lead blood level at 5.8

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
I am very concerned with the results of my 18 month old dd's lead level. What do I do? She plays with Melissa and Doug toys, some Fischer-Price, IKEA toys, Little Tikes, and nothing exotic. Our house has new walls and new paint so I don't think the source is coming from paint.
I'm very nervous! What should I do?
post #2 of 11
When you say that your house has new walls and paint does that mean that you have recently renovated your home or that the house is new?
post #3 of 11
Unless you did the house stuff yourself or it is 100% new construction, you might want to double check it.

Thankfully my DS didn't have elevated levels of lead in his blood, but he did have elevated levels of lead in his hair. Come to find out, our front doorway and threshold had lead paint. So much for our "completely gutted and rehabbed" house that was sold to us as "like new construction". If your house was older and rehabbed, you also may need to check the soil because old lead paint from the exterior can contaminate the soil.
post #4 of 11
Lead can be disturbed in remodels and reconstruction (very common) so if that is what you mean by new walls I'd wonder if lead was distributed during that process. Water is another potential source. Outdoors/porch paint/soil, window sills, doorways, etc. all can contain lead paint. My sister's bathtub was a source.

I think it's extremely unlikely she got that lead level from toys.

What I would do:
figure out source if at all possible (test dust, windows/doors, water, bathtub (even newer ones from the 70's and 80's can have lead I think though my sister's was much older. My 1950's house has lead in one of the tub glazes), etc.)
treat like I've got contamination via the remodel if that was recently done
vitamin C to try to lower the level.
Make sure she's got a decent ferritin (iron stores) level. Lead lowers iron and so she needs a check there imo. Adequate iron and calcium might reduce continuing absorption of lead.
post #5 of 11
My LO had a level of 9 at one year. At least around here, it's not "officially" (in pediatrics) a concern until their level is 10 or greater. I know it's aweful to hear that your LO has ANY lead, but on the other hand they can still be happy and healthy at the level you mention.

I'll second a PP's suggestion to make sure your LO has adequate iron. Handwashing before eating is also very effective. As for the house, old windows are a common lead hazard (create lead dust from the friction of opening and closing if there was ever any lead-based paint used there).
post #6 of 11
Our LO had a 4.2 level at 11 mos. I went a little crazy. We do live in an old house. We tested the tub and it was leaching lead so we had it sealed. We started a strict no-shoes policy and started hand-washing a lot. I repainted a few areas and I put tape over dings in paint I didn't have time to get to. I vacuumed a lot and washed all floors with swiffer wet-jet (you are supposed to dispose of all dusting and mopping cloths). And we had him retested at about 16 months--it had gone down to 2. We still lived in same house with same yard that does in fact have a high-ish lead level. We still had some cracks in the ceiling and we still had the same toys--including a few that are older. I am confused by the whole thing, so I understand how it can make you feel. I feel fine about the new level, but I'm not positive it shows a downward trend. Either the high test or the lower one could be a fluke. He could have been exposed to lead somewhere else before the higher tested level. We had been staying out of town with a friend. It could have been higher because he was crawling more and had his hands and things in his mouth more at 11 mos than at 16. Who knows? I relaxed a little after the lower test. I still wash his hands a lot. We still wet mop a lot and I wipe all surfaces often. We are still planning to do some lead remediation in the yard. And I think I'll have him tested again around 24 months. I know other people who had similar levels and were not concerned, as a previous poster mentioned.
post #7 of 11
Calcium, iron and vitamin C. If you're not opposed to juice, there are Earth's Best juice boxes that are fortified with vitamin C and calcium.

I agree with Rachelle that it's unlikely that the exposure came from the toys.

My daughter had a lead level of 47 at 14 months, and we never knew definitively what caused it. It took me a long time to come to terms with that.
post #8 of 11
My daughter had a lead level of 50 and was flown to a hospital for IV chelation. It took us months to figure out where the lead came from and it wasn't from our house. And although our house was brand new construction that we built, when the state lead testers came to our house they found that all of our doors to the outside had metal casings that were made out of lead and they also found a porceline coffee urn that had a high lead content. All of our toys (wooden, plastic, painted, metal...) were lead free.

I'd look around for where your lead problem is coming from, but I wouldn't over worry about it. You baby is fine!
post #9 of 11
Ackray: they did find out where it came from? They never gave us a definitive... :sigh
post #10 of 11
I was reading that things like house keys, electrical cords, etc, can have high lead content... of course I read this *after* DD was a baby who played w/my keys all the time... *sigh* Other things to think about at least, though.
post #11 of 11
Originally Posted by blackbird2 View Post
My LO had a level of 9 at one year. At least around here, it's not "officially" (in pediatrics) a concern until their level is 10 or greater. I know it's aweful to hear that your LO has ANY lead, but on the other hand they can still be happy and healthy at the level you mention.
My son had a lead level of 9 as well. I wouldn't consider 5.8 to be okay, it can always go up until you find out what the cause is. I would also avoid supplementing with vitamin C- this can actually increase his absorption of lead. Do, however, supplementing with iron (Floradix is non-constipating and works well) as well as spirulina to compete for absorption in his gut with the lead (same way that calcium and iron compete for absorption).

We discovered that our windows were the source of exposure (this was right around 18 months as well). He loved to sit in front of an open window and watch people walk by- meanwhile microscopic amounts of lead were blowing in from the window sill. We did nothing more than close the windows and wash most of the surfaces with soapy water, and within a month or so his level was down to 2. We did nothing other than that because we were renting (our state has virtually no protection for renters who find lead in their apartments- we moved a few months later because our landlord failed to act on what he said he was going to do).

Anyway, old windows are a particularly difficult source to deal with. Every time you open or shut the windows, a little bit of paint is scraped off and sent into the air. Even if you painted over the old paint, opening and closing the windows will eventually wear the new paint off and the old paint will continue to float into your breathing space. On the other hand, lead paint on the walls is no issue at all if you can paint over it. Really, I would just suggest finding a company that tests for lead paint. There are some really cool (but super expensive) tools out there that will tell them, for example, if you have lead paint buried on your walls, and how many layers of paint are above the lead paint! They can also test the soil in your yard. If you have a vegetable garden (the veggies do uptake lead from the soil) or your kiddo eats dirt, this could be an issue. It could also be an issue if you have a dog who rolls in the dirt and then comes in (even if the dog doesn't bring in enough dirt to be noticeable).

Beyond considering your own house, consider other places where he spends a lot of time. Does he hang out with Grandma a lot at her place? While it's unrealistic to test every single house he goes to, it does make sense to simply consider the possible sources of lead, and look for those sources at other houses he might hang at. Think about bathtubs if he bathes anywhere else, tap water (testing tap water is fairly cheap), window sills, chipped paint anywhere, old or imported toys at other people's houses, etc. Think about the church nursery (if you go to church) or daycare/babysitter (if this is applicable).

Another possibility is that someone close to you in your neighborhood has scraped old paint from the exterior of their house and it has drifted in the air to your son.

Lots to think about, but it's worth it. We really don't know the effects of sub-clinical levels of lead, and once it enters into his system it's stored in his bones.
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