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Moms dealing with elevated lead levels - Page 2

post #21 of 624
Narnia, glad to share good info. The recipe I used was bit more simple. I will try to find it. Similiar but I didnt include the pumpkin seeds and a few others. I seem to remember them all having brazil nuts though.
Good luck, I try to tell everyone about Cilantro!!
post #22 of 624
I read about cilantro early on, but my toddler rejected it. That recipe sounds so yummy I am going to try again with her this week, and see if I can get the rest of my familty to try it too. Apples also help alot, particularly if the child is still being exposed to the lead. They are one of the traditional herbal remedies, and helping to bind lead in the stool to pass it, and as a blood purifier. Added bonus that even wee ones can handle apple sauce. Garlic and onions are also traditional blood purifiers. I just upped the onion content in all our food, since we love them anyway. DD, 22 months, identifies them by taste now and says oinyun, yummy, which of course makes papa chef proud.
Sea vegetables, particularly kelp, are also good for detoxifying metals, due to their high iodine and glutamic acid (an amino acid, so braggs has it too) content. Glutamates are key to heavy metal metabolism in a way science is just now discovering, and recent research indicates that children with autism, particularly those thought to have vaccine-related injury, may not metabolize glutamic acid properly. One can take medicidal iodine and glutamic acid supplements, but since such are unadvised for little ones, I occaisionally take glutamic acid myself and figure maybe a little gets to her in my milk, but considered iodine supplements too risky for the same reason. Kelp is easy, just add a dried piece to any pot of beans as they cook, or crumble into soup. It absorbs extra H20 so add extra. Of course one can make lovely sea vegetable salads, Annie's makes a sea vegetable dressing, dd will eat neither so it's only stealth kelp here.
If you own your own home, there is a national law that requires that you were notified of the lead paint when you bought it. Call 1 800 424 LEAD for info. The law also applies to renters, but there are more loopholes. I haven't learned everyone's name yet, but the poster who bought the house from her dp's boss should find out about this, and sue after dp gets a new job! We were renters, and haven't sued yet. We have another 8 months for the statute of limitations, and we will. The Drs. are such a pain, I'm not ready to deal with the lawyers yet. . . . but would appreciate any info that would help in the process. Home owners: an architect in the extended family told me that lead painted windows can be removed and acid dipped rather than replaced, He said it was cheaper than replacement and good for historic homes as it preserved authenticity. Renters, just move. All three of us feel better, less joint pain, fewer headaches, less fatigue. Dd acts like she feels better, too. We didn't have the resources to move, but managed it anyway. there are probably public resources to help.
post #23 of 624
I'm another less-than-thrilled member of this tribe. Thankfully our lead issues are over now, but it was a nightmare when we were in the middle of them. We moved into a new older home when my dd (now 3.5) was a little under a year old. We knew it had lead based paint in it because of the age, and we knew the windows would need attention at some point, but in the meantime, we planned to simply not open and close them very often. Three months after we moved in, my dd's lead level came back at 20, which totally alarmed us. We moved out of the house instantly and stayed in my parents' townhouse (my mother had died the month before, and my Dad moved out of town very suddenly, so it was not being used by anyone but us). Our city had no lead abatement program with financial incentives or help, so we were on our own. And there seemed to be no clear choice residential lead abatement contractors in our area, so it was very frustrating.

The city Health Dept came to our house to do dust wipes and to check the water and soil. We believe the largest source of contamination for us was in the soil around the house, since the paint on the wood on the house had been scraped shortly before the house was listed for sale. That dust got on shoes and feet and then got tracked into the house, where it ended up in the carpet. Stupid us pulled up the carpet while our kids were still playing on it! So I can only imagine that a lot of the lead buildup in my dd happened as a result of that. She was crawling and had just learned to walk a few months earlier, so her hands were always all over the floor.

Anyway, the dust wipes showed high lead levels on the windowsills, on the floor around the edges where the carpet had been, and on some floors. We wiped with paper towels and TSP (talk about an environmentally unfriendly procedure!) as often as we could. After the heel prick came back at 20, we had a venous sample done, and that one came back at 12, which was much more acceptable and closer to the normal range. During the time we were out, we had the exterior wood shakes of our house covered in vinyl siding, we had all 28 windows replaced in the house, we had all of the windowsills removed on the interior and replaced them with new wood. We had a lot of doorway trim replaced, quite a few window frame moldings on the interior replaced, and we had any carpet in the house taken out and all the hardwoods sanded and refinished. Even so, her bll was still at 7 when we had it all done 6 months later. My older boys were not affected, and they were 4 at the time.

The key is avoiding exposure and containing the dust. We used a vaccuum with HEPA filtration, which we hope helped prevent the dust from flying around. Before we had all the abatement work done, we would wet dust with TSP and we avoided using a broom or sweeping in any way--just sucking stuff up in the HEPA vac.

We ended up spending big $$$ on getting rid of the lead, and eventually the stress of it made us just put the house on the market (with full disclosure). Then my dh lost his job and we moved to a new city altogether, so that is all part of our past now, and we firmly decided that for now, for our sanity, we needed to live in a house built after 1978.

Good luck dealing with this. I appreciated the free dust wiping and results so I knew where to target abatement. We used iron supplements, but I used Floradix liquid, which doesn't stain like the other liquid irons can. We also upped her calcium. 2 years later, I don't see any obvious lasting effects of our adventure, so hopefully we caught it quickly and dealt with it efficiently and this is the end of it.

post #24 of 624
Thread Starter 
I can't wait to write about all this in the past tense and say that my daughter was uneffected. Sometimes I lie in bed at night and just freak out about it. Pagan_princess, how did you find out your DD is sterile?
I keep forgeting the reason that we are in this house, though. We put a contract on this nice little house before I was even pregnant. Then after a huge mess with an FHA loan and the bank, two days before we were supposed to close on the house, the house burnt down. I was 20 weeks pregnant. Luckily we were not already moved in. But we suddenly had no house and needed to be out of our apartment. there was another house on the same nice street, but a fixer upper. ha! We bought it "as is" and signed a paper saying that it may or may not have lead. My husband put up new drywall over all the old plaster walls. We redid everything, except the windows. at the time we just figured we would replace them one at a time as our budget could allow. I had of course heard of the dangers of lead poisoning, but I don't know why I thought we would not be affected. We also found out that a lot of the lead dust was outside around the perimeter of the house and we (and the cats) were constantly tracking it in. So, because of the "as is" purchase, I don't think we can sue the sellers.
Now we are in red tape, paper work, government grant hell. the second contractor still has not completed his estimate and we are coming up on two weeks. why does it take so long? for some reason they were saying it would be cheaper to just replace the windows then to try to get the paint off. and I think now we do have to get it done by a certified lead abater.
well, I bought a huge bunch of cilantro but my daughter doesn't like it. I ended up mixing it with all different things in the blender, even ranch dressing, to make this concoction that she will eat. she loves carrots and dipping, so now she has a secret cilantro dipping sauce. I also mixed some with pasta and parmesean cheese and she ate that.
post #25 of 624

hepa vac recommendations?

Originally Posted by nantwins
The key is avoiding exposure and containing the dust. We used a vaccuum with HEPA filtration, which we hope helped prevent the dust from flying around. Before we had all the abatement work done, we would wet dust with TSP and we avoided using a broom or sweeping in any way--just sucking stuff up in the HEPA vac.Nancy
Hi there nancy et al.
Any one have a recommendation for a good HEPA vac to deal with our lead? Should one have a bag system (versus the convenient bagless?) or does that not make a difference?

Also, what does TSP mean??

Thanks !
post #26 of 624
anoriens mom:
good luck. keep us posted!
post #27 of 624
Well, I don't know what TSP is but the cheapest high phosphate cleaner we found was Cascade powdered dish detergent, in a strong solution. The powder has a higher phosphate content than the liquid. The phosphate bonds with the lead as I understand it, and there's no reason to buy expensive lead cleaners. At least that's what the gentleman from our State Dept. of Public Health said.
As I mentioned before, we got our bagless Eureka Whirlwind at Big Lots, factory reconditioned and it is amazing! But if money is not a consideration I would buy a Dyson (maybe their ads have got me). My previous vacuum was an Electrolux (very expensive) but it lasted for over 30 years, making it very cheap in the long run. I really appreciate the bagless, and like being able to carry the cannister outside to dump it, as I am full of microfine dust paranoia at this point, as are we all, I'm sure.
post #28 of 624
We don't know for sure if she is sterile. It was just one of the serious side effects that we were told could be a result. We will probably not know for many years yet. At least until she hits puberty to see if she can even menstruate.

We were cleaning behind the house this past weekend and see a spot on the other side of the building that is the paint is chipping really bad. I am going to have the landlord here tomarrow and show it to him. I already know that he HAS to fix it, but I can only imagine how rude he is going to be about it. Everything to him is money money money. :
post #29 of 624
Thread Starter 
still here in lead poisoning hell...
it does keep me up sometimes at night. i keep trying to remember that this house was a real blessing. we were in the process of buying another house and two days before we were supposed to close on it, the house burnt down. luckily we had not already moved in, but I was 20 weeks pregnant and we were already overextending our stay in our rented apartment. i amazed now that we did not look into the possibility of lead. we bought this house "as is" and signed an agreement that it may or may not have lead paint. i guess with everything going on, like the possibilty of having no home at all, we didn't give it much attention. it is, and is becoming a nice house, but it still needs a lot of work.
i am truely amazed at some of these moms that are actally able to spend time online typing emails ,and with lots of kids. i am having a hard time ewith one . she is litreally grabbing my face to turn it to hers haha
post #30 of 624
Hi all
just an update. My DD came back with a lead level of 4, from a prick test. The dr. said this is not a cause for concern. Is this true? ? He said it could have been lead dust on her hands (I washed her hands just before the prick to avoid this).

I am still worried (we've an old house, done some remodling/stripping, and I had a lead level of eight), and am going to go ahead with getting a professional lead tester to come in and test our house. The whole test costs $300 with a device that sees lead through the paint. Also, we pay for wipes in each room for the dust ($15). Its costly, but I want to know how much of problem we have. Anyone have an opinion on this? Is this a waste?

We are planning on replacing all our windows but are afraid that it will introduce more lead into the house. Finding a contracter who is lead savy is not easy.

Anyway, at least my dd at eight months isn't sky high with lead. I just worry when we start opening the windows and she's really been crawling for a few months and the lead might have a chance to accumulate.

OK, hope you all are well.

post #31 of 624
I just spent forever looking for us int he finding your tribe area. We're in health and healing. Did we get moved or was it here all along?

CatskillMtnMama, 4 is pretty much the lower end of acceptable. It's when it gets over 10 that docs start paying attention and even higher before there is visible illness. But, obviously, having any lead in the body is clearly not a great thing, you know? Also the finger pricks are less accurate than an actual blood draw. More likely to show a falsely high level. Lots of people see a high number on the prick, get the more accurate vein test and find out it's actually much lower.

So I wouldn't worry too much yet, but definitely go ahead with testing the house and everything. Whether there is a lot, a little, or no lead in the house is definitely something to know. If it's there, you'll know to take measures. If not, you get peace of mind. Either way it's definitely worth knowing! And with the windows, I guess it depends but I htink it's often better to seal the lead in and contain it rather than disturb it by replacing things. You can get in touch with your health dept for more information if you want. Ours is constantly sending flyers for lead safe seminars for contractors and homeowners and basically anyone interested. They are free.

As for us, no real news. We're waiting for the results from the test of our water sample, and have switched to bottled for drinking in the meantime just in case. Bottled water, cleaning with paper towels and dishwasher detergent, how natural of us Oh well. Ds gets tested again the second half of June.

He won't eat the pureed spinach anymore. Joy. Instead he rubs it all over himself, which gives him this weird bumpy rash on his skin which freaks me out. I try to still get those greens into him by putting it in other foods. Like tossing a few cubes into our smoothies, heating it up and mixing into scrambled eggs, that kind of thing. I'm going to try that cilantro pesto as soon as I have the money for the ingredients and figure out what all of them are

I give him a multivitamin now.

He's still healthy and developmentally on track. That makes me feel better. I mean he's not super advanced or anything but he's not lagging behind the average or slowing in learning new skills.

It's so nervewracking! Right now it's just doing what we can and hoping for the best, you know? We'll be moving sometime this summer and are hoping to get into someplace that's lead free, but on our budget and in these old new england buildings that might be tough. SOmeone else said it about the housing around here- love the character, hate the lead!

And I had a question, if anyone made it all the way through this post. It seemed a bit strange to think of but I got wondering and figured this was the thread to ask on. Is there a way to tell if the lead is being eliminated? From his body I mean. Like a change in diapers or something that would show the lead is getting out? Is it totally bizarre that I got to wondering if there was a way to tell from his poop if the measures we're taking are helping him move it out of his system? I know the best way to know is the blood test, but hey, I was curious.

Hugs for all of us here in this tribe.
post #32 of 624
hope you do find somewhere better! We do love the old houses, too. How old is your child? I don't think you mentioned. I hear what you are saying about all the cleaning. We repainted all the window trim last summer to seal in the lead, but were later told that that essentially does nothing because opening and closing the window releases it into the air. This is all such a pain! Have to work hard to not get panicked, right? Even with a 4 on the lead test we are still worried, as we know there is lead all over the house, and she's just beginning to crawl...

I don't know anything about your question-- whether you can see if the lead is being eliminated. Like with iron you can see it in the BM right? Haven't heard of anything similar with lead. But I am still relatively inexperienced...

Trying to contact my local health dep't today.

post #33 of 624
I think that there probably won't be that much of a change in dc's stool at just a level 4. My doctor would say a level 4 is nothing (another reason we're switching doctors, again). But he might get less fussy! When I look back at dd's behavior around 9 months, I cringe. What the NP kept saying was my imagination, or teething, and to just give her as much ibuprofen as I wanted, I now know was undoubtedly stomachaches and headaches from the lead. Here, the environmental division of the State Dept. of Health were much more helpful than the local, but whichever agency can direct you to the one with more staff, etc. Of course, they had lost funding to keep a certified lead inspector on the city's staff.
Oh, no, I never thought about tracking dust into the house. Does anyone know what can be done about exterior lead dust and paint chips on the ground? Our old house had peeling paint, the new house we moved into in January (still an old house) had all intact new paint, but I notice now that it's spring and we're outside, that this house had been partially scraped and painted recently and there are paint chips all over the perimeter. Dd is too old to mouth paint chips, but it makes me want to vacuum the grass and the sidewalk, then wash down the sidewalk with cascade.
post #34 of 624
To be clear, my son is 17 months now and his last lead test was 18. Someone asked about a level of 4, so htat's what I was responding to in my last post.

We test ds again at his 18 month appointment next month. One question I had about the chelation pesto recipes though-they do seem to all include nuts, but lead is mostly a concern for younger kids, right? We haven't introduced any nuts to ds's diet yet, and didn't plan to until he was closer to 3. Is the concern just about peanuts and hte others are ok? I know the seeds are fine, but I was worried about introducing the nuts so early. Thoughts?

As for anything else, we're just now starting to look for apartments. So we need, here in southern nh, a lead free apartment with at least 2 bedrooms as well as space for an office, decent parking for 1 car, nice neighborhood, near public transportation, for hopefully less that $850/month. :LOL Might as well ask for the world. Sigh.
post #35 of 624
Hello to all of you mommas struggling with lead in your homes. I'm very sorry you have to be going through this.

This thread piqued my interest because lead poisoning is something I've been concerned about in my home and, like many others that other posters described, put off getting my home inspected because I really didn't think it was a big deal. Anyway, I have a few questions and hope that you wouldn't mind me asking to try to have a starting point for my children. Did your doctors perform the bloodtests for lead as a standard part of the 12 month visit, or did you have to ask for the bloodtest? Did/do your children show any symptoms of possible lead issues? I've read that some children from this thread seem to have the hyperactivity and/or irritability markers, but were there any other symptoms that stick out for you?

I appreciate any assistance anyone can offer. I am going to make an appt for dc to get bloodtests done at the doctor's office so I can see where we stand with this.

Thank you.
post #36 of 624
Hi Trimomma-

At my ped office it is standard at nine months to give the lead test. Our state requires it at 12 months, but apparently enough has accumulated by nine months to make it worth testing a little earlier. I had Lulu tested at seven and half months by a prick test. I have heard that these are not as accurate but I figured it would give us a rough idea of where were at.

As I mentioned, Lulu's lead level was four, and the dr. said that was fine. We are still going through with lead testing (we just had the whole house tested with something similar to an x-ray machine and also had floor wipes done). We found that at the very least our windows are VERY "hot" with lead. We'll have to take them out, and do it in a lead safe way. Very expensive.

What was surprising to me was how much, according to the lead inspector, basic cleanliness effects how much lead gets into the child. He said if you just wipe down your windows each day (the sills of the windows that you open and close) and you keep your floor clean ... it goes a long way. I have to find a good vacuum cleaner with a hepa filter.

Anyway, does this help?

post #37 of 624
Turning Lead Into Gold has very useful info about heavy metal poisoning and treatments. It was written by a Canadian mother and nurse whose twin boys were debilitatingly toxic with heavy metals, and it tells their story as well as exploring the options for treatment. I've just loaned my copy out so don't have the author's name handy.

post #38 of 624
thanks s., will check out the book on amazon.
post #39 of 624
Massive Post ahead--sorry if it's too much :

A friend of mine had trouble with her son testing high (about 25), so after learning the hazards from their experience, we have been fairly cautious in our old house (she attributes lowering his count quickly to use of kelp powder, hidden in pbj sandwiches). Dd tested at a 7.7 at about 1yo and 6 months later she was down to a 3, so I don't feel we have a huge problem, but am being especially cautious to keep things clean.

TSP is tri sodium phosphate, I think. You can buy it at a hardware or paint store. It's designed for wiping down walls prior to applying new paint. Using the water with phosphate dishwasher detergent will bind to the lead so you can pull it off surfaces instead of just moving it around. I go around the house with a roll of paper towels, a garbage bag to collect them, and a cup of clean solution to dip only clean towels into for a one-time use, washing the windows, sills, floors where dust has accumulated, etc. It's wasteful, but worth it.

Be very careful about hepa vacuums. According to the lead inspector who worked with my friend, inexpensive store bought vacuums labeled as hepa are NOT good enough, as most all of them have a blow-by feature that allows some of the air sucked in to go through the motor without being filtered properly, which disperses the dust back into the air. You need a true hepa vac that will capture dust down to 0.3 microns to capture lead dust. It really needs to be one of the ones that's certified for allergens. I plan to order a Nilfisk vacuum next week (to the tune of $400 to $600--mega ouch!). You also want a bag or one-time use cartridge so you don't have to handle the dust or end up spreading it around when you dump it. Many state health departments have professional hepa vacs that you can borrow for free, so call and ask to see if you can do a thorough cleanup a few times a year.

Also, I once spoke with the poison control center nurse who was a lead specialist (dd broke a maraca that was filled with a million tiny lead balls instead of seeds/beans : ). She had the most info of anyone I've ever spoken to, and sent me a huge packet of information which I haven't had time to read yet. One thing she alerted me to is that you should always make sure to tell the lab that you want your child's blood put into a certified 'lead free vial' for testing. I know this sounds obvious, but according to the nurse, lead free vials are not always used, and a normal vial could skew the results by several points.

Other sources of lead I've heard of...can't confirm all but it can't hurt to list them:
-Vinyl mini blinds are a very real hazard due to moving parts which create dust.
-Anything PVC, apparently lead is a stabilizer in many forms of vinyl, and could be in your garden hose, those plastic/metal hoses that hook up to the newer faucets, etc.
-Stained Glass
-Ceramic bowls, plates, cups
-Cheap crayons, sidewalk chalk
-Soil near major highways or in cities where lead gas fumes settled over time
-Keys and jewelry (mentioned by pp's)
-Christmas lights (again, vinyl plastic covering the wires)
-Some makeup, hair dyes and ethnic food items--can't remember specifics
-Sign up for the CPSC recall email list--lead recalls seem to come up at least once a month, including children's toys http://www.cpsc.gov/cpsclist.asp
-Candles with leaded/metal core wicks
-Imported Canned foods may have lead solder
Another good info source I found:

For lead paint chips or residue on the soil, get some mulch and cover bare soil where you can. Grass or planted areas are considered safer because the lead dust works it's way into the soil and is harder to pick up again.

Here's my favorite article on renovating safely:

Also, search the MDC forums using 'lead' or 'lead paint', and you'll find a ton of good information in older threads!
post #40 of 624
Thread Starter 
We just got the results back from my daughters latest lead test. It was 19 so her progression over the last seven months has been 31 - 30 - 25 - 21 -19. At least its going in the right direction, but man is it taking along time.

When I made the cilantro pesto, I left out the nuts. I actually tried mixing it with all sorts of stuff, like tomatoes and even some ranch dressing, just to get my daughter to eat it. she really doesn't like it. oh well.

as far as her having symptoms, I think it is hard to tell. is she is pain becasue she is still teething or does she have a massive lead headache?
she is also sometimes really violent, and biting : , so is that just her personality or the lead? As i mentioned before, we had some OTs and nurses come to the house to test her developmentally, and she was at or above average in everything.

all I can say is " aaarrrgggg"
oh, and "I hate my house".
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