High lead level in my toddler-what do I do? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 18 Old 02-01-2008, 09:38 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I also posted this in Health and Healing

Harvests blood test came back as a high lead level of 15. I am really worried because now the doctor wants us to bring him in for a regular blood draw. I REALLY do not want to do this. I need advice and stories. Any information on lead would be helpful to me. Thanks!

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#2 of 18 Old 02-01-2008, 09:46 AM
 
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Just wanted to tell you that my son had a level of 11 when they did the toe prick when we went for the blood draw it came back a 2. So try not to get to upset yet Mama( I know easier said than done!).

Jenese Mama to Elliot 8/05 and Millie Jane 7/07 and Cecilia Kate 1/11
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#3 of 18 Old 02-01-2008, 09:47 AM
 
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My oldest's levels were in the warning range, and I did a lot of research and found that calcium had the ability to take lead's place in the body, so we got her to eat chewable calcium bites (like Viactive) everyday, as well as incorporate other foods high in calcium. Either that worked or whatever the source of her exposure was went away, because when she was retested several months later, they were within the acceptable range. They were on the higher end of acceptable, but no CPS were going to inspect my home or anything. I haven't had the next child tested yet, but we'll see.

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#4 of 18 Old 02-01-2008, 09:48 AM
 
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I also wanted to say the blood draw went so much easier than I thought it would. He sat on daddys lap I sat on the opposite side of the draw and distracted him with a treat, he didn't even cry and it was over soooo fast.

Jenese Mama to Elliot 8/05 and Millie Jane 7/07 and Cecilia Kate 1/11
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#5 of 18 Old 02-01-2008, 10:22 AM
 
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I think we could advise you more if we knew the reasons you don't want to retest.

Do you have any of the major lead risk factors in your home? Take care of those.
http://pediatrics.about.com/od/about...igh_risk_2.htm

For now I think the most important thing is getting the lead levels down. I would add high iron foods and they should be taken with citrus to increase absorption. Also, they should not be taken with calcium as it can hinder absorption- but calcium is important. The idea behind adding iron is that the body prefers iron absorption over lead.

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/lea...068/DSECTION=8
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#6 of 18 Old 02-01-2008, 10:32 AM
 
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The vein draw is a breeze compared to the finger/toe prick! The first time we tested my twins' blood for lead (finger prick) we got a false positive high reading. The vein draw revealed that they didn't have any lead in their blood. They also cried and cried during the finger prick and were perfectly peaceful during the vein draw. Since then, I have refused all finger pricks in favor of the more accurate and less-painful vein draw.



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Mindfully mothering SIX kids (ages 4, 5, 7, 8, 11 & 11) in a small house with a lot of love.
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#7 of 18 Old 02-01-2008, 10:38 AM
 
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my friend's DC heel prick came back @ 11 and the draw @4, 6 days between tests. she said the draw was MUCH easier than the prick and more accurate.

I'd have the draw done.
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#8 of 18 Old 02-01-2008, 10:40 AM
 
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Here is a LONG thread here about elevated lead levels. There are many suggestions. http://www.mothering.com/discussions...d.php?t=265284
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#9 of 18 Old 02-01-2008, 11:48 AM
 
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I've been through this myself - ds tested at 15 when he was 9 months.

First I would say not to have concerns about retesting. As others have said, it is very common to have a false high reading from a fingerprick test. But even if your dc's BLL really is elevated, it is better to know that and deal with the reasons for it before it gets any higher.

I am a Vermonter myself so I know exactly the people you might be working with to reduce lead exposure. Was I happy that my son's name was on a list at the Department of Health of lead-poisoned children? No. But no one ever accused me of being a bad parent or forced their way into my home. This is not a matter for CPS - you would be talking to the Dept of Health and possibly the Housing and Conservation Board. Everyone I spoke with was helpful, polite and respectful.

Vermont has an excellent lead abatement program run by the Housing and Conservation Board. If you qualify (there are income limits) you may be able to have your house tested for lead paint and lead dust for free. You may be able to have lead abatement (things like replacing lead-painted windows and doors) done for free or at much-reduced cost. We participated in this program, and ds's BLL went down very rapidly after the work was done - I am very thankful that Vermont has this program.

Here's what to expect: if your dc's BLL is elevated, you will get a call from the
Dept of Health. The purpose of this call will be to educate you on sources of lead exposure and help you pinpoint the likely source of your dc's problem. They will offer to send someone to your house to help you find lead hazards and to show you some means of dealing with them (cleaning techniques, etc.). They will offer to lend you a HEPA vaccum (considered more effective at removing lead dust than a normal vacuum). I refused this visit because I already knew where our problems were thanks to the Housing and Conservation Board's testing, and had already received a lot of information on how to deal with it. The DOH accepted this politely and didn't push at all to see my home or meet me in person.

The only thing to be scared of is not finding the problem and letting your child become lead-poisoned.
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#10 of 18 Old 02-01-2008, 12:28 PM
 
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This just happened to us. DD tested 17 with a finger prick. Then her blood draw came back as 3. In the meantime, we had added blackstrap molasses to her diet (for the iron), and I got a Hepa-filter vacuum (our 1939 house had been under construction for most of her babyhood.

So she's fine, and now I own a Dyson vacuum. I hope your story ends similarly!
-e

Momma to 8 y.o. DS and 5 y.o. DD. Married to a Maker!

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#11 of 18 Old 02-01-2008, 05:25 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pbjmama View Post
I think we could advise you more if we knew the reasons you don't want to retest.

Do you have any of the major lead risk factors in your home? Take care of those.
http://pediatrics.about.com/od/about...igh_risk_2.htm

For now I think the most important thing is getting the lead levels down. I would add high iron foods and they should be taken with citrus to increase absorption. Also, they should not be taken with calcium as it can hinder absorption- but calcium is important. The idea behind adding iron is that the body prefers iron absorption over lead.

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/lea...068/DSECTION=8
:

However, I would like to add that the combination of iron salt (any iron that uses the word ferrous, and chelated iron) with vitamin C has been shown to cause a potentially toxic mixture that can lead to ulcers and GI cancers.

You might be better off choosing heme iron (meats or Proferrin).

Check out my business, Pangaia Metaphysical Store, and radio blog, Pagan Musings.
I'm a witchy mama to DS ('06) and DD ('10) with DH, Stormie, a heathen homemaker daddy.

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#12 of 18 Old 02-02-2008, 02:06 AM
 
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I agree with everyone. My cousin's son had high lead. She gave him kelp powder.

One thing to note about kelp though is that seaweed can absorb metals when it is growing, so you need to be sure you are getting the right stuff. You can get it in powder form, and sprinkle it in his food.
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#13 of 18 Old 02-02-2008, 02:08 AM
 
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I agree with everyone. My cousin's son had high lead. She gave him kelp powder.

One thing to note about kelp though is that seaweed can absorb metals when it is growing, so you need to be sure you are getting the right stuff. You can get it in powder form, and sprinkle it in his food.
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#14 of 18 Old 02-02-2008, 02:48 AM
 
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My daughter just tested positive for lead at a level 3. I take this very seriously because it can have adverse effects on the brain even at levels below what the CDC now considers normal. This is what I have done and am going to do.

- Had a lead inspector test the house and all toys, furniture, eating utensils using and XRF machine and dust wipes for the floors and window sills (he found nothing).
- Add kelp, iron, Vitamin C, and calcium rich foods to her diet. Polyvisol with Iron supplements because she was also found to be low in iron, which could make her absorb more lead.
- Wash her hands and face throughout the day and before eating. Bath everyday. Clothing change everyday and every night.
- I don't let her eat dirt anymore or mouth any metal (brass keys have lead).
- I'll have her retested in a month and hope for a downward trend.
-Carefully look at places she spends time, other than home, for lead hazards.

Good luck and don't let this go unaddressed. It's really important to get away from the lead and to get those blood levels down.
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#15 of 18 Old 02-04-2008, 01:27 PM
 
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Hello - you may want to visit the website www.metal-free.com . There is a product that helped my daughter tremendously, also by the name "Metal Free". She tested positive for lead when she was only 4-5 months old. My midwife explained that sometimes a first child will "cleanse" the mother's body of heavy metals. (I was tested, and no lead found in me.) At any rate, after treatment with this product, my daughter's personality bloomed, she was obviously being affected by the presence of lead in her system. I bought it through my chiropractor, who also does a whole lot more, I hate just calling him a chiropractor. Anyway - hope the info helps!
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#16 of 18 Old 02-05-2008, 10:26 PM
 
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hugs! it's such a terrible feeling. my boy tested at 22. we were just sick over it. the good news--he has sailed along, taught himself to read at 3, so he seems fine.

what helped sooo much was Lidocaine. Our doctor prescribed it for us since we would be having months of blood draws. It's an ointment. It numbs the skin if you put it on an hour in advance of blood taking and COVER with a waterproof bandage. Also find out where the nurse will be taking the blood from--arm, leg--so you numb the right spot. My son was so young that we were able to slip the bandage on without him really knowing. And the blood draw was a piece of cake b/c he never felt a thing. But you have to follow the directions correctly or it won't work.

That and lots of iron and the levels went down. Not overnight but consistantly.
Good luck!
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#17 of 18 Old 02-06-2008, 05:04 AM
 
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I understand that you don't want to put you LO through the pain of regular blood draws, difficult veins run in my family so blood draws are a big deal with DS. However, we go through them b/c the effects of high lead levels and low iron can be much more serious.

In the mean time go through you house and see if you can find any of the possible sources. Recalled toys, painted antiques, metal blinds, etc. You could also get you water tested, and if you have a garden where you grow food have the soil tested.

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#18 of 18 Old 02-10-2008, 03:46 PM
 
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My family was exposed to lead, arsenic and aluminum from our soil, so I've done extensive research on heavy metals and how to remove them. I've sent you an e-mail with my phone number, please let me know if you do not receive it. I have too much information to fit in a thread. If anyone else would like more info, please feel free to e-mail me by going to "Members List", finding my user name, and choosing the e-mail option.

Some of the key points to know about lead:

1. Lead stays in the blood for only 30 days, so a blood test shows only if the lead exposure occurred within the last 30 days. Lead can remain in the body much longer and can be stored and re-enter the blood later in life.

2. A finger prick test can be very inaccurate, many doctors now refuse to use it, and rely only on blood draws.

3. A hair analysis is a more reliable test to determine long-term exposure as lead is excreted into the hair during the entire time period that the body is trying to rid itself of the lead.

4. Lead may be found in old paint, old water pipes or water heaters, soil, paint on children's wooden or plastic toys (toys made in China have been recalled repeatedly for excess lead) and also in new water faucets and brass fittings (brass needs lead in order to be machined to form the fittings and internal faucet parts). It takes about 1 year for the lead to stop leaching from new faucets with metal parts.

5. Lead is absorbed into the body through breathing airborne particles and from ingestion. Washing hands everytime before eating is a major protective measure to take.

6. If the lead exposure is coming from the soil or lead paint, mop your floors rather than sweeping or vacuuming, as sweeping and vacuuming cause the lead to become airborne. Also, use a damp cloth to dust. If you have carpet, and therefore must use a vacuum, make certain it has a very good HEPA filter. The Dyson vacuum cleaner does indeed have cleaner air coming out than going in, so it may be an effective choice.

7. If the lead is coming from your water source, let your water run for a minimum of 1 to 2 minutes before using to flush the water that the lead has leached into out of the pipes. Hot water causes a greater amount of lead to leach into it, so always use cold water to cook with. Heating water concentrates the lead.

8. Websites I used to obtain tests:
Water - http://ntllabs.com
Soil - http://www.spl-inc.com
Hair - http://www.arltma.com
You can also have a garden soil test done by UVM in VT. There is an option to check for lead on their form. However, their instructions for taking a sample are based on the soil the vegetables come in contact with. To test your soil for your family's exposure, make sure to collect the top layer only to a depth of about 1/4 to 1/2 inch.

The hair analysis requires a Doctor to send it in, but if your Dr. is not familiar with them, I'm sure ARL can refer you to one who is.

9. One thing to remember about the home test you find at Home Depot, they usually only test lead at levels above 50ppm. You can have a much lower level of lead and still have problems and exposure from it.

10. If you do have lead in your soil, try to make sure there are no bare spots. Lead contact is much lower when the soil is coverd by grass, gravel, rock, etc.

11. To reduce the amount of lead entering a person's body, be sure to eat often. An empty stomach absorbs lead much more easily.

12. Lead occupies the cell receptor sites that are reserved for calcium. A diet rich in calcium helps to block lead from being absorbed. Calcium from green leafy vegetables tends to be the most easily absorbed by the body. Kale and Collards have a lot.

13. A diet high in fruits, vegetables, (particularly green leafy vegs such as broccoli, lettuce, dandelion greens, etc.) and whole foods will remove much of the lead by binding it with the fiber and pectin. The vitamins and minerals in the fruits and vegetables will assist also. Raw or lightly steamed will be the most effective (puree for the baby). Preferably organic if you can.

14. Chlorella algae, fresh garlic, and cilantro are very effective in removing lead. You can use them separately, but they work most effectively when all 3 are eaten during the same day. (I use the brand Sun Chlorella. You can find it at Healthy Living in South Burlington.) For children, start with 1 tablet per day per year of age. Too much chlorella will cause diarrhea, so if it does, reduce the dosage. It's very unlikely at the dosage I mentioned.


15. If you're nursing, your child can absorb a lot of these nutrients from you if you eat the above foods. Also, it is believed that less than 10% of the lead you ingest will transfer to the breast milk, so if you are nursing, please don't be too concerned about double exposure.

16. Juicing the greens will make them even more easily absorbed. Add apple or carrots so that the greens are not too strong. Use your sense of taste as a judge. For a child, mix half and half with water. For a baby, start with mostly water and work up gradually.

Overall, removing the source of exposure and following the healthy diet mentioned above will help tremendously. The methods mentioned above lowered my family's lead levels effectively (along with their arsenic and aluminum levels as well).
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