This is one of those health concerns you heard a lot about in the 70s and 80s when the government began to take an active role in reducing the amount of lead in our everyday environment.
As long ago as 1904, child lead poisoning was linked to lead-based paints, but it wasnt until 1971 that the Lead-Based Paint Poisoning Prevention Act was passed. Finally in 1978, lead-based paint was banned. The inside and outside of homes built before then most likely were painted with a lead based paint. Since lead is slightly sweet to the taste children are tempted to put fallen paint chips, or peeled chips, into their mouths.
Lead was also an additive used in gasoline till 1986 when it was phased out of production. Tons of lead was released into the atmosphere and eventually found its way into the dirt of playgrounds, and yards.
The banning of lead in these two areas alone has dramatically reduced the number of American children with elevated blood lead levels. Thats extremely good news because lead poisoning can have terrible consequences for children and adults.
But, despite the progress that has been made in the last four decades, about 2.6% of U.S. children aged 1 to 5 years old still have too much lead in their systems, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Surveys conducted between 2007 and 2010 show that more than half a million children had blood lead levels equal to or above the recommended 5 micrograms per deciliter (mg/dl). A level at, or higher than 5 mcg/dl, is considered a level of concern by the CDC.
Children can be exposed to lead by inhaling it, swallowing it or in rare cases absorbing it through the skin. In the bloodstream it can damage red blood cells, limiting their ability to carry oxygen to the organs and tissues that need it. Lead can end up in the bones and interfere with calcium absorption. It can severely affect mental and physical development and at very