Rages and lead poisoning

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Sara PA, Oct 29, 2007.

  1. Sara PA

    Sara PA New Member

    You know how some of us keep saying that the symptoms our kids have can be caused by lots of things? Well, I saw this article and thought of how the behaviors sound like a lot of what we see.


    <span style='font-size: 12'>llinois toddler had 13 times the safe lead level</span>

    By Greg Toppo, USA TODAY

    Anyone who believes lead poisoning affects just inner-city families should meet Sarah Taylor.

    For more than a year, the stay-at-home mother of four in rural Charleston, Ill., has been caring for a daughter poisoned so severely by lead that her doctors could find only one comparable case: that of a Minnesota boy who died after swallowing a lead charm.

    For Taylor, a chance encounter in August 2006 with a helpful desk clerk saved daughter Amanda's life. Taylor had brought the girl's baby brother to a county health clinic for immunizations when the clerk noticed 2-year-old Amanda and asked, "Have you had her lead-screened yet?"

    A quick fingertip test showed severely elevated lead levels, so nurses drew blood from the toddler's arm. Amanda's lead level was 136 micrograms per deciliter (ug/dL) &#8212; more than 13 times the maximum safe level. She began immediate chelation &#8212; in her case, a series of painful injections &#8212; to remove the lead.

    Inspectors visited the Taylors' rented house and found the source: old, peeling lead paint on the front porch, around outside windows and in carpets. Amanda, it turned out, had been eating paint chips as she played on the porch.

    Advocates and researchers say this may be the most grim aspect of the nation's lead problem: State and local governments, in many cases, don't have the resources to clean up lead until children turn up poisoned, effectively making them lead detectors.

    Taylor and her husband are suing Joe Charleston, their former landlord, to help offset costs of Amanda's treatment and care. Charleston declined to comment on the case.

    Even after a six-day, $16,000 course of shots, Amanda's lead level a year later hovers at 25 ug/dL &#8212; and her life revolves around doctor visits. She's seeing four different specialists, and her mother says the preschooler teeters on the edge of being uncontrollable.

    "She's really aggressive, and she throws tantrums unlike any tantrum I've ever seen," Taylor says. "At times she's the sweetest, nicest little angel. The next moment someone touches her blanket and she's on the floor screaming, kicking like you've never seen."

    Now 3, Amanda also has night terrors and insomnia. "You want to lock yourself in the bathroom and cry, but you can't," Taylor says. "I just have to remind myself we're lucky she's still with us."

    Amanda's long-term prognosis is unclear. "I've seen a number of kids with lead poisoning, but nobody's come close to this number," says Charles Morton, a developmental pediatrician at Carle Clinic in Urbana, Ill., where Amanda was treated. He says it'll take "many, many years" for her lead level to come down.

    But beyond that, predictions about Amanda are difficult &#8212; the only case with such high lead levels showed up in February 2006 in Minnesota, when a 4-year-old boy swallowed a lead charm that came with a pair of Reebok sneakers. He was hospitalized with a lead level of 180 ug/dL and died four days later.

    Taylor, meanwhile, has become a reluctant activist, lobbying Congress to get rid of lead in aging housing. "Right now I'm an angry mom," Taylor says. "If you get enough angry moms together, something's going to change."
  2. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    My kids were tested for "heavy metals" including lead before being put on medications. Our pediatrician tried to rule out everything he could think of before making the assumption that their problems were psychiatric and turning us over to a child psychiatrist.
  3. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    So very scary. One of the reasons we bought a brand new home when we bought. It is worth having a little less space and a slightly higher mortgage payment. We had ENOUGH problems and a little boy who mouths most things.

    This is one of hte things that makes me so angry when I see that toymakers use paint with ANY amount of lead in it.

  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Oh, Sara, what a GOOD POINT!!!!! Especially to those of us who adopted kids who may have lived in lead-painted homes lead poisoning can debilitate our kids. My son tested negative for lead poisining, but the child we adopted who acted like a psychopath had high lead levels, which we tried to get down. This is such an excellent point. Many little kids eat the peeled paint and ingest lead in their system, which can cause all sorts of brain damage. We almost adopted one child who had this problem--poor child had mild cerebral palsy and some massive behavior problems.
  5. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member


    A great article to share! We worked with a company here in our city that did lead abatement for citizens who couldn't afford it themselves. Several of our employees got lead abatement training, and were certified. We would bid on jobs this company had on their list. Every home we did had children and grandchild living there. They were provided a place to stay while their home was being taken care of. The company recieved federal, state, and local funding.

    Additionally, we have always lived in old homes and had our paint tested. It's something everyone should do if they live in a house that was built or painting prior to the 80's. There are many local entities that can do the testing free if you have limited resources.

    You know, this is just the tip of the iceberg. I guarantee that as the years go by, we will find many enviornmental issues related to behavior problems.

    Thanks for the article.

  6. helpmehelphim

    helpmehelphim New Member

    I just got back from the Explosive Child conference in Boston with- Dr. Greene, Alfie Kohn and others and high mercury levels are also being found in addition to lead. More parents are finding this to be a factor as well. It's incredibly complicated... and goes into environment as opposed to behavior and parenting.

    So many people out there are dealing with these issues...it's mind boggling. The good news is that new therapies are being developed that are having really positive outcomes.

    So many things to think about....
  7. Sara PA

    Sara PA New Member

    A while back there was an article in our local newspaper about a family whose children had high levels of lead. They had bought a big, old farmhouse which they were remodeling. The kids didn't eat the paint, they inhaled it in the dust caused by sanding old, painted wood.

  8. ShakespeareMamaX

    ShakespeareMamaX New Member

    My goodness...this is such a fightening post.

    This is definitely something I'll keep my eye on, considering my son mouths so many, random things.

    Such a dangerous world, sometimes...

    Thank you for the info.
  9. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member


    Lead level testing is pretty much the norm for school checkups here so we're covered.

    Thanks for an interesting post.