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Moms dealing with elevated lead levels

post #1 of 624
Thread Starter 
As I am waiting for the results of my DD's 4th lead test it occured to me that I can't be the only mother going through this. This is a "tribe" I am reluctant to be in, but we found out when they did her 12 month blood test that her lead level was high (31). I am so glad we did that test. We are now giving her iron twice a day and have located the lead paint in and around the house. I would love to talk to other moms dealing with this. Have you had trouble giving your child the liquid iron? How do you get the stains off the teeth? Have you had the Dept of the Environment and Social Services come through your house? How long did it take for the lead to leave their system?
post #2 of 624
Thread Starter 

"Lead Poisoning" tribe

I guess I should be glad that no one responded to my earlier post.
post #3 of 624
Hi, you are not alone, I have seen other mothers posting about this issue. Until 2 years ago we lived in a real old tenement type apartment. It had been repainted before we moved in when I was pregnant with dd1. Because the lead was well covered her lead levels were fine, never going above 5. When dd2 was born 4 years later I had lead tested at 6 months and it was already 14. Where we live in MA we were able to force landlords to de-lead. I was also giving her iron and cleaning like crazy. Iron levels went up after de-leading (this is normal) and since then have gone down. DD2 is 4 now and lead levels have been below 10 for 2 years. We have since bought a condo. There is lead in this building too. Isn't it great living in the northeast!? However the windows are replacement vinyl and the exterior of the house is sided. Windows I learned are a major form of contamination. The paint on the trim is in good condition and we plan to keep it that way. Some of the trim is natural wood and we would love to strip some of the painted woodwork but we will not do that until girls are older.

Both my girls are doing well, bright and energetic. PM me if you want. I know how crazy all this can make you feel.
post #4 of 624
Hey - we're still going through this and I know some natural stuff that will help. . . .pm me and I'll give you the 411.
post #5 of 624
Yep, I'm part of this tribe too. Not one that I would love to be in, but here I am.

Three years ago, we discovered that our now almost 5 year old daughter had lead posioning. Her lead level at her highest was 47.8. She got it for the apartment that we live in. At that time, I never really knew much about what lead posioning was. All I knew was that it had been a big problem in the 80's and early 90's. I didn't even know there was lead paint still around.

My daughter had to be admitted to Buffalo Children's Hospital for six days for chelation treatment. That was the hardest thing that I have ever had to witness. Seeing my innocent baby deal with that, a nd being almost powerless in helping her. Watching her in pain seriously ripped my heart out of my chest. After 6 days her level was down to 21.3, and they finally let us take her home.

Yes, I had the county health dept. in and they took an assesment of our home to see where it was coming from. It was everywhere. They told me that I had to find some place to place Haylea-Ann while the abatement process was taking place, because she couldn't be back in the home until it was taken care of. At that time my support system was pretty much nil, so I was scared. Thankfully my next door neighbor took her, and let her stay with them until it got done. I was so grateful because if I couldn't find someplace for her to go, the state would've place her into foster care. And the sad part is my ex-landlord knew that it was here. He knew that it was a health risk to children, and he knew that when I moved into the apartment that I had children. My oldest son was 3 and I was a very visably 8 months pregnant when he moved in here. By law he was required to tell us that there was still lead based paint in the home. And he never did. What happened could have been prevented, if he would have just cared enough to say something to us.

We sued our old landlords and got Haylea-Ann a pretty nice settlement. If she uses it wisely as she grows older, she will never have to worry about money. But that is a small concilation to all the after effects of what she has had to deal with since then. There are still after effects that we may not see for years yet. My 4 year old baby may be sterile and not able to have her owb babies someday. That thought kills me.

Fortunently she has never had many of the problems that we were told that she could. She had been tested by a specialist that worked for my ex-landlord that Haylea-Ann was learning disabled. Which at that time worked to our advantage because it helped her settlement phase. But she has been tested at her school, and she is on the "Above Normal" charts in just about everything. She is very intelligent.

The things that we do have to work with is her temper. Because of what has happened, Haylea-Ann has a very hard time bringing herself back into control when she gets angry. We were warned that the lead could cause severe behavioral problems, but I definately wasn't prepared for what I got. When she is in a good mood she can be the sweetest most caring child you ever did see, but when she is mad or upset watch out. She has ripped apart her room, banged her head off things, and just generally having a hard time expressing how she is feeling. It is frustrating for me because disipline that you would use on a "regular" child does not work with her.

I am working with her school in trying to find some programs to help her, and our family. It's hard because there aren't many programs in the area for anything like this. So, now she school (HeadStart) is trying to help me find a specialist that can show me ways to cope with her behavior, and more importantly, help Haylea-Ann cope with how she feels sometimes.

It has been 3 1/2 years since all this began. Her lead level in December was 3.7. It is lowering, but as you can see it is a long process. I have been trying to find someone else on here that has gone through this same thing. It's nice to know that we aren't alone.
post #6 of 624
I'm in htis tribe, sadly. I'll come back later with more of our story and probably lots of questions for those who've dealt with it longer.
post #7 of 624
Told you I'd be back

We moved into our current apartment when ds was 3 months old. It's a pretty old house, and we knew coming in there was lead paint in the trim still. Doorways, windows. Our landlord(who is so fabulous) made sure we knew before formally agreeing. It's law here to test rental properties and inform tenants of hte results, also she has young kids so had everyhting tested when they moved in. Their youngest was a toddler at the time and they tested her levels pretty often to make sure her levels weren't elevated. it wa snever an issue, and that child is 3 1/2 now....
Also, htis apt has been completely redone since they bought the house. The tenant at the time was filthy and awful and everyhting had to be cleaned up. Like, floors ripped up and replaced due to cat boxes not taken care of, bag and bags of trash and cigarette butts, etc... Really gross. So the whole place has been completely cleaned, fresh paint, etc..

So, knowing there was lead paint we tested a little early. Our doc does it routinely at 12 months but we asked about it so we tested at 9 months. That was..let me think...September. His lead level then was 11. Just barely over 'acceptable'. We tried not to panic. Made a bigger effort to wash his hands and face more often, clean everyhting more regularly. He was just starting to be more interested in solid foods so we made sure he was getting good healthy foods. Also at that time, we were just coming into a new england winter. We always plastic our windows up for the cold season(saves a TON on heating bills) and we thought that would help a lot too. This apt has lots of windows, the really low ones. We assumed that not having access would help reduce his exposure.

At his 12 month appointment in December, we tested again. Up to 13. Ok. Wash hands and face before eating every time, also started the habit of wiping hands and face at every single diaper change. Wipe everyhting down with damp rags at least twice a week. I have a rotating schedule for this so the whole house gets done twice weekly. All the windows and doorways and stuff like that. Also cleaning hte kitchen floor more often, vacuuming more often (buying hepa filter bags for the vacuum). Learned that iron and calcium can help the body process lead and get it out. He already eats lots of yogurt and cheese and loves green veggies like broccoli. I also added green leasfy veggies. Spinach, kale, etc.. He can't eat them raw so what I do is cook up a bunch all at once until it's really soft, stick it in the blender, and freeze in an ice cube tray. In addition to other foods, try to get one or two cubes a day into him. Luckily he loves it. Then I read that lead is absorbed the most in the lower intestines and regular bowel movements help push it out before it's absorbed. So I monitor his food to make sure he poops at least once a day. Oatmeal and applesauce. Also raisins, he eats a lot of those and I hear they're good for iron.

So then we just tested a couple weeks ago, at his 15 month appointment. Since December his levels have jumped to 18. Now I'm really freaked out.

I just read(somewhere here I think) that when dealing with lead, yes you need to damp dust often and damp mop and vacuum-but you should be using paper towels, not rags that you wash and reuse! I had no idea! Still not sure why, maybe it stays on the cleaning rags even after washing? I don't know, but here I was feeling so good about not using as many paper products and stuff. That's out the window. If it'll keep my son healthier I'll have an extra bag of trash each week. :

I just don't know what else to do now. We're trying to get in a good, thorough, spring clean. Wash every damn surface in our home. Vacuum out every nook and cranny. Wash everyhting that's washable. My husband is going to put together a few friends to help him put a fresh coat of paint over all the trim. Ds and I will just have to plan a whole day out of hte house so they can get it done, that's easy enough for me. We're trying to find ways to rearrange furniture so he has less access to the windows. We're planning to move(we were planning it before we got the most recent results, but a lead free building is a must now for our next place(cheap, lead free, good location, 2-3 bedroom apt in new england, lol. yeah right, we're dreaming) but not until fall.

We've been in touch with the health dept. More accurately, they've been in touch with us from the beginning. Over 10 they contact you. I'm not sure at what point they actually come out to your home. The woman who is our contact there has been very nice to us. She is sending a kit so we can test the water. In the meantime I've switched ds to bottled water just in case. If there is lead int he water from the pipes that might expain the jump in his levels, as he eats a lot more now so drinks a lot of water too.

I don't know what else to do. Should I supplement with iron and calcium? What is a good brand, or does it have to be Rx? How much? What kind of natural solutions are there? I'd be very interested int hat, can you post it here? I'm sure lots of people would find in helpful.

Stinks being part of this tribe, doesn't it?
post #8 of 624
Well, I don't know about natural supplements much other then the ones that you have already mentioned, but yes, I would check with your son's Dr. about getting him on iron supplements. Haylea-Ann's Dr. gave me an Rx for multi-vitamins with iron and flouride added in. Lead can cause the enamel on their teeth to wear away too.

We were told not to vacuum the chips up because it can just cause more lead dust in the air. We rented a steam cleaner twice a month for six months for the rugs. It got to be very expensive. Also the county health dept. gave me a lead cleaning kit. Basically it is two buckets, two sponges (one for washing, and then one for drying, but you MUST make sure that you never mix them up) two mops (for the same reasons), rubber gloves, and cascade dish detergent. I guess that it cleans to the lead better then anything else.
My landlord was required to come have the apartment abated. He had to come and replace windows, doors, and repaint all the trim in the house. Careful for those that are going to try and repaint themselves, because there is some kind of primer that has to go on first. I will check through Haylea-Ann's records and see if I can get the name of it. I guess that the lead can leak through the new paint without it.

Hope this helps!!!
post #9 of 624
Yes Pagan Princess, it does help. Cascade, eh? The liquid kind? My IL's have a steam cleaner that I know they'll let us use. Good good good.

Someone mentioned knowing about natural remedies....scrolling down... provocativa says she knows natural ways, that's whay I saw.

My husband is going to a seminar for contractors, homeowners, and parents, about dealing with lead paint and proper steps to take for construction/renovation/painting stuff. So we'll know he's doing it right. Our landlord may also attend or help. They've been very concerned about it all, always asking what they can do, etc.. so maybe they'll help with the painting or pay for it. They are they ones who told me about the lead sealing paint, probably the same stuff you're talking about.

The doc hasn't mentioned supplements yet. Probably because we're on the lower end of hte high levels? And ds hasn't shown an iron defficiency(sp?)-they test for that at hte same time they test for lead.

At any rate it's good to see I'm not alone. Makes me feel less like a bad parent and mor elike someone just dealing with a problem other people have, too.
post #10 of 624
We too live in New England...old houses - love 'em but not the lead!

DS had lead level of I think 9 or maybe it was 11 when he was tested at 12 months. Anyway, very close to the "red flag" number.

Our Doctor gave us a prescription for liquid iron supplements immediately & DS has been on them since. His numbers have continued to come down, so that is a good sign.

My understanding is that the body will absorb the iron over the lead (the iron helps prevent lead from being absorbed), so I would definitely ask your doctor for an RX.

There are lead-blocker paints available - they are really thick (and expensive - about $50 per gallon around here) but are NOT effective for doors or windows - anywhere surfaces rub together.
post #11 of 624
I'll tell our story later;. Actually, lead mimics iron and calcium in our blood, metabolic pathways, etc. So the diet that is adequate in those leaves fewer holes, so to speak, in the whole system for the lead to slide into. Lead has a half-life of 20+ years in bone. How's that for mamaguilt? Check your bathtub, too! Old cast iron bathtubs can leach lead into the water. I would recommend against a fluoride supplement, if your water is fluouridated- too much fluoride is toxic. And as for iron supplementation, the difficulty is that there is much arguement as to the true bioavailability of the iron in supplements. Doctors give supplements because they are expected to give a pill, and because it's easier than educating their patients. And, the kind of iron in many supplements (some are better than others) can be very constipating to young children, and constipation is very counterproductive to lead poisoning. The best iron is in food sources. Liver, of course. Molasses. Chickpeas. Leafy greens are the best because they also have calcium. I envy the pp whose child would eat them pureed and frozen- none of that with my 21month old dd. Try to pair iron and calcium rich foods with those high in vitamin C- it increases their absorbption. You can vacuum with a hepa filter. Lead cleaners are high in phosphate, which must bond with the lead- oops, baby awake, more later!
post #12 of 624
Thread Starter 
well, I knew I couldn't have been the only one. thanks for the replies.
her last results came in at 21. still toxic, but slowly coming down from 31 in November.
I guess I just really don't know how to mentally deal with this. how much do I freak out? my husband's boss (and the guy who sold us the house) has this attitude that the lead poisoning thing is all hype. and this house was built in 1930 and i am sure many kids grew up in here. so then i start to calm down and think that maybe its like the stuff you see on the evening news like about the killer bees. hyped out of proportion. but then i read stuff like what pagan-princess wrote about the behavior problems. we immediatly had the health department contact us and i opted then to have our daughter tested to see how she was doing developementaly. some occupational therapists and nurses came to the house and spent a few hours "playing" with her. she was actually above her age level for almost everything. but sometimes when she gets mad and loses control and bites me, I wonder if that is normal for a 17mo or if that is a result of the lead. never considered the possibility of her being sterile.
we also received the double mops and buckets and were told to stop washing my husbands clothes with my daughters. cant afford a HEPa vac .
we got a perscription for ferrous sulfate (liquid iron) drops. we were told to give it to her twice a day. i magically and intuitively only remember to give it to her once a day. it turns her poop very green (doesn't that mean it is not being absorbed as much and the excess is being passed through?) and i think it is constipating but i eat alot of flax, still b-feeding, and i think that helps. just try ot give her lots of good food, toddler typing too. more later
post #13 of 624
My daughters level at 12 months was 11, but we had just finished remodeling (including deleading) an old house. We weren't living in the house at the time, but she did visit the house with us a few times when we were there to check things out and supervise. And we *were* living there when we had the exterior painted, which probably stirred things up, even though they were pretty careful wiht the chips when they scraped.

Anyhow, we were pretty lucky. Our doctor recommended putting her on a multivitamin with iron, which we did, even though we had to bribe her to take it (I think it tasted awful), and when they checked again at 18 months her level was back to normal range.
post #14 of 624
Hi All.
We don't know if our girl has increased lead yet (she's seven months) but our house does have lead on the window sills, at the very least. I am quite worried. We are going to replace all the windows in the house with a company that has some training with lead abatement.
Have you or your spouses been tested? I had a zero lead level, then went to eight during pregnancy (when my husband, who didn't believe the lead issue was real ... grrr... stripped both the front and back porches of paint... got all over the house). I want to get another test. Is eight in an adult bad? The md's said not to worry. Am I passing the lead on to the baby through my breastmilk?
Yes, I am very worried. Has anyone found a lead abastment grant program in their state? It is so expensive to take care of this. We are takign out a second mortgage.
post #15 of 624
Thread Starter 
we are working on a grant program right now in Maryland. we first found out about it when the health department and dept of environment came through and (with his neat little lead reader) told us all the places we had lead. As they were listing all the things we needed to do to de-lead, we just kind of laughed. our income has of course dropped considerably since I quit my job. So we applied for the Maryland housing rehabilitation program for lead abatement through the department of housing and community developement.
Marylands wesite is www.dhcd.state.md.us so you should just be able to replace md with your state
this so far has been a long and stressful process. they took six weeks just to decide that the first estimate was too high and they want another contratoer to give an estimate. i am worried now that we are just a number so I sent along some pictures of my daughter. more later
post #16 of 624
Thread Starter 
ok, back online.
so we are hoping of course to get a grant. but they also have a no interest, no payment loan in which they put a lien on the house. as soon as they replace all the old windows and de-lead the house the value will go up considerably so it seems like a no-brainer investment to me. this last contrator who came through on monday knows the guy who makes the decisions so hopefully he can help speed things up a bit. i am terrified to open my windows and now the weahter is getting so nice.
i have not gotten a lead test done for myself. i think since my brain is developed it doesn't matter as much, but man, i am so glad i have not gotten pregnant.
i also don;t know about the lead going through the breast milk, but i am soooo glad i am still breastfeeding. my mom was a LaLecheLeague leader so a big advocate of b-feeding of course and a big support. she said the extra IQpoints Anorien gets from this should make up for the loss of IQ points from the lead. that makes me feel slightly better some days.
post #17 of 624
Well, I BF'ed Haylea-Ann also, so maybe that is why the lead hasn't seemed to do much damage intellectually. Trust me, I wish that it would do something for her attitude though. :LOL :LOL :LOL
post #18 of 624
I did a quick check for NY. No out and out grants for our area that I have found. Some areas have $1000 grants. That would not go far. We were told that to replace all the windows with someone who was certified for lead removal would be about $14,000.

You are right, the value of the house would go up, wouldn't it.

For us, the next big "watershed" will be when Lulu gets her blood test. That will help us really reckon with how bad a problem we have.

Oh mamas, this is hard isn't it? Its difficult when your own home doesn't feel safe. I worry about opening windows, letting Lulu play on the floor, etc.

Big hugs to you all.
post #19 of 624
my DS had a high level when he was one.
Other than increasing iron foods, eatin vit C with the foods high in iron increases the absorption.
Cilantro is a natural chelator-rids the body of toxic metals. Do an online search for Cilantro Chelation Pesto. I think we did 3 T daily of the pesto. It is yummy and works.
Good luck
post #20 of 624
Thread Starter 
oh my gosh, gratefulmom, Thanks.
just did a quick skimming of cilantro chelation pages, wow, definitely going to the store tomorrow. in case any one else doesn't have time to search, here is a recipe i found.

Cilantro Chelation Pesto

You will need:
. 4 cloves garlic
. 1/3 cup Brazil nuts (selenium source)
. 1/3 cup sunflower seeds (cysteine source)
. 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds (zinc, magnesium sources)
. 2 cups packed fresh cilantro (coriander, Chinese parsley) (Vitamin A source)
. 2/3 cup falxseed oil
. 4 tablespoons lemon juice (Vitamin C source)
. 2 tsp. Dulse Powder
. Bragg's Liquid Aminos
Process the cilantro and flaxseed oil in a blender until the cilantro is chopped. Add the garlic, nuts, and seeds, dulse, and lemon juice and mix until the mixture is finely blended into a paste. Add a squirt of Bragg's Liquide Aminos to taste and blend again. Store in dark glass jars if possible. It freezes well, so purchase cilantro in season and fill enough jars to last through the year.

One person suffering from high blood pressure due to mercury poisoning had her blood pressure return to normal after eating 2 teaspoons of this pesto daily for only a week. So whether you need to detoxify heavy metals from your body or just wish to use it as a preventative measure, 2 teaspoons a day is all you need to take.

on one site someone was saying that even rubbing cilantro on your wrists can help. i wonder if my daughter will like the taste.

and yes, catskillmama, this is hard. i am so angry at my house (trying not to be angry at my husband who wanted to buy this house!).
thanks for the hug.
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