“No blood lead level has been found to be safe for a child,”~ Dr. Mary Jean Brown, chief of the lead poisoning prevention branch of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
We’ve known about the dangers of lead, a neurotoxin, for years now. We know that even low levels of lead exposure can lower IQ, affect academic performance, damage the brain, damage the kidneys and cause seizures.
Monday, June 30, 2014
Emotional and behavioral problems show up even with low exposure to lead, and as blood lead levels increase in children, so do the problems, according to research funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), part of the National Institutes of Health. The results were published online June 30 in the journal JAMA Pediatrics.
“This research focused on lower blood lead levels than most other studies and adds more evidence that there is no safe lead level,” explained NIEHS Health Scientist Administrator Kimberly Gray, Ph.D. “It is important to continue to study lead exposure in children around the world, and to fully understand short-term and long-term behavioral changes across developmental milestones. It is well-documented that lead exposure lowers the IQ of children.” [See the study: Lead in Kids’ Blood Linked With Behavioral and Emotional Problems]
Moms’ lead exposure could affect infant brains. Wednesday, June 04, 2014
Pregnant women exposed to lead had newborns who scored slightly lower on tests measuring reflexes and other skills tied to brain development, according to a new study from China. Environmental Health News.
[See the study: Lead exposure at each stage of pregnancy and neurobehavioral development of neonates]
Lead Killed The Romans
Lead exposure isn’t just a health concern, it can be deadly. From the EPA; Lead Poisoning: A Historical Perspective “Romans of yesteryear, like Americans of today, equated limited exposure to lead with limited risk. What they did not realize was that their everyday low-level exposure to the metal rendered them vulnerable to chronic lead poisoning, even while it spared them the full horrors of acute lead poisoning..
Roman aristocrats…would never dream of drinking wine except from a golden cup, but they thought nothing of washing down platters of lead-seasoned food with gallons of lead-adulterated wine. The result, according to many modern scholars, was the death by slow poisoning of the greatest empire the world has ever known.”
Lead Kills Babies
Fetal death rates in Washington, D.C., rose in parallel with two recent spikes in lead levels in drinking water; Stillbirth rates tied to lead in drinking water. Study December 2013
Long-established science suggests that the elevated lead levels should have also increased stillbirths, which are fetal deaths in the second half of the normal 40-week gestation period. The new study, published December 9 in Environmental Science & Technology, provides evidence that such an increase occurred during Washington’s lead crisis. Edwards found that in 2001, Washington’s annual fetal death rate jumped by 32–63 percent relative to the rates in 1997–1999; no comparable increase occurred in Baltimore, which did not suffer lead level spikes. Read more
This ecologic study notes that fetal death rates (FDR) during the Washington DC drinking water “lead crisis” (2000–2004) peaked in 2001 when water lead levels (WLLs) were highest, and were minimized in 2004 after public health interventions were implemented to protect pregnant women. Changes in the DC FDR vs neighboring Baltimore City were correlated to DC WLL (R2 = 0.72). Birth rates in DC also increased versus Baltimore City and versus the United States in 2004–2006, when consumers were protected from high WLLs. The increased births in DC neighborhoods comparing 2004 versus 2001 was correlated to the incidence of lead pipes (R2 = 0.60). DC birth rates from 1999 to 2007 correlated with proxies for maternal blood lead including the geometric mean blood lead in DC children (R2 = 0.68) and the incidence of lead poisoning in children under age 1.3 years (R2 = 0.64). After public health protections were removed in 2006, DC FDR spiked in 2007–2009 versus 2004–2006 (p < 0.05), in a manner consistent with high WLL health risks to consumers arising from partial lead service line replacements, and DC FDR dropped to historically low levels in 2010–2011 after consumers were protected and the PSLR program was terminated. Re-evaluation of a historic construction-related miscarriage cluster in the USA Today Building (1987–1988), demonstrates that high WLLs from disturbed plumbing were a possible cause. Overall results are consistent with prior research linking increased lead exposure to higher incidence of miscarriages and fetal death, even at blood lead elevations (≈5 μg/dL) once considered relatively low.
Lead Kills Chidren
Tragically in 2006, Jarnell Brown, a 4-year-old Minneapolis boy, swallowed a part of a heart-shaped Reebok charm bracelet and died of lead poisoning. Jarnell Brown’s autopsy revealed that the Reebok charm he’d swallowed was 99 percent lead.
After Jarnell’s death, the charm bracelets were recalled by Reebok. But lead is still a huge issue. Lead poisoning has killed 400 children under the age of 5-years-old, and affected thousands in Nigeria due to toxic levels of lead in a problem the UN refers to as “a neglected, underfunded emergency.”
Lead Kills Wildlife
From The National Park Service, Hunters Should Use Lead Free Bullets, Lead Bullet Risks for Wildlife & Humans.
Due to the severe risks of lead, a Federal Panel Urges Lower Cutoff For Child Lead Poisoning In 2012 CDC responded, and in 2013 the The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new guidelines, Now roughly twice the previous high estimate, more than half a million US children, are diagnosed with lead poisoning.
The United States is still dealing with unacceptable high levels of lead, including in children’s parks, products, schools, candy, and even our food supply! For example US rice imports were found to contain harmful levels of lead. Rice imported from India and China had the highest levels of lead and other toxins, but all the samples were high. From BBC news “The team measured the lead levels in each country-category and calculated the lead intake on the basis of daily consumption. The results will be published in the Journal of Environmental Science and Health (Part B).”
Lead; A Problem Today
- Mickey Markey Park in New Orleans was just closed after testing showed lead levels in excess of safety standards. Parents are encouraged to have lead levels tested in children that frequented this park. (this is not the first time a park had to be closed due to dangerous levels of toxins)
- Warner Bros. Shrek collectible drinking glasses tested to have high levels of lead.
- Berlin (N.Y.) Elementary School made headlines for toxic lead which put both students and staff at risk, but lead and other toxic building materials remain an issue in aging school buildings nationwide
- Disney (a company that even gives parents the warm fuzzies) was one of many companies with resusable shopping bags tested to contain high levels of lead. The Disney reusable shopping bags sold at Safeway supermarket with images of “Cars” and “Toy Story” on them tested to contain 15 times the level of lead allowed in children’s products. Michael Green, Executive Director of Center for Environmental Health (CEH), called this health hazard “especially disappointing” because nearly three years have passed since the use of lead was banned in children’s products, the release reports. Furthermore, the press release explains that the “CEH has found high lead levels in numerous Disney-branded products, including baby bibs, diaper bags, children’s jewelry, lunchboxes, Hannah Montana products, and other items.”
- Families Near An Airport -Aviation Gas Poses Lead Risk To Thousands in Brevard
- In 2011, the CEH issued a warning to parents that bounce houses pose a lead hazard to children, with “one testing more than 70 times the federal limit for lead in children’s products under the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act.”
Parents may not even think of risks of excessive lead exposure sending their child off to elementary school, watching their child play in a bounce house, or play a local park.
It appears difficult to avoid lead without some sort of outside protection as it appears we can’t go by name brand alone. Trusted brands such as Warner Bros. and Disney were both found to have products tested with excessive amounts of lead, and products marketed to appeal to the child such as Toxic Waste Nuclear Sludge candy also tested to have unacceptable high levels of lead and was recently recalled off store shelves.
We know high levels of lead can be deadly, but we also know that lead levels can build up in the body. Small amounts of lead in the bodies of healthy children and teens — amounts well below the levels defined as “concerning” by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) — may worsen kidney function, according to a Johns Hopkins Children’s Center study published in the Jan. 11 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine.
“To our knowledge, this is the first study to show that very low levels of lead may impact kidney function in healthy children, which underscores the need to minimize sources of lead exposure,” says lead investigator Jeffrey Fadrowski, M.D. M.H.S., a pediatric nephrologist at Hopkins Children’s.
In addition research from 2003 suggested that lead may be harmful even at very low blood concentrations. The study, funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences of the National Institutes of Health, appeared in the The New England Journal of Medicine.
“The five-year study found that children who have blood lead concentration lower than 10 micrograms per deciliter suffer intellectual impairment from the exposure. The researchers also discovered that the amount of impairment attributed to lead was most pronounced at lower levels. The study was carried out by researchers from Cornell University, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, and the University of Rochester School of Medicine.
An important feature of this new study is its focus on children with blood lead levels below 10 micrograms per deciliter, a threshold currently used by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to define an elevated lead level. Previous research has been concerned primarily with lead’s effects in the 10 to 30 micrograms per deciliter range, yet the new study finds lead-related impairments at lower levels.” “more than one in every 50 children in the United States between the ages of 1 and 5 years is adversely affected by lead, which has been linked to lowered intelligence, behavioral problems and diminished school performance. Nearly 1 in 10 young children have a lead level above 5 micrograms per deciliter, according to CDC figures.
“Our study suggests that there is no discernable threshold for the adverse effects of lead exposure and that many more children than previously estimated are affected by this toxin,” said Bruce Lanphear, MD, MPH, Cincinnati Children’s and director of the hospital’s Children’s Environmental Health Center. “Despite a dramatic decline over the last two decades in the prevalence of children who have blood lead concentrations above 10 micrograms per deciliter, these data underscore the increasing importance of prevention.”
It appears the main ways to be exposed to lead is through the environment, and through goods we purchase. Have you thought of that garden in your backyard? Are you positive the organic edibles you just purchased are free of heavy metals?
Some are not aware that if lead, a heavy metal neurotoxin, is in soil it can be in every aspect of the vegetation growing in that soil. The study did find that the fruits or vegetables will have the lowest amount of lead in comparison with the roots which would be highest in lead, however again as lead builds up in the body and as we know there are no safe levels of lead, we need to be aware if we are consuming foods grown in lead contaminated soils.
To read the full report click on Lead Levels Of Edibles Grown In Contaminated Residential Soils; A Field Survey
And lead contaminated soil is not rare. Soils in many cities of the United States have heavy concentrations of lead due to lead based paint chipping off old houses and buildings and from the emissions of cars burning leaded gasoline. Being aware of the level of lead in the soil you have your garden planted in can prevent you from bringing “fresh grown” foods tainted with lead to your dinner table. Even low concentrations of ingested lead have been associated in children with impaired brain development, balance problems, heightened risk of tooth decay, hearing loss, and shortened stature. In adults, such lead can boost the risk of high blood pressure.
Even though the greatest worry about excessive lead is for our most vulnerable in the population, the children, lead is a well known toxin and carcinogen still being found in everyday products and is also a concern for pregnant women. Many do their part to help the environment by not using plastic or paper bags and to instead use resusable bags. However, excessive levels of lead were tested in reusable bags from CVS, Safeway, Bloom, Walgreens, Sears-Canada, Wegmans Staples, Giant Eagle, Piggly Wiggly, Giant, Gerbes, KTA Superstore, Brookshire Brothers, Stater Bros., “and, ironically, the District of Columbia Department of Environment” And Irwin Naturals Inc. has agreed to pay a $2.65M settlement for unfair business practices. “Prosecutors accused the company of marketing products with more than the amount of lead allowed under a state measure requiring disclosure of any carcinogens…An investigative team found that their products didn’t contain Hoodia and some contained 10 times the legal limit of lead.”
Lead Exposure Can Trigger Schizophrenia and Related Mental Disorders, Shows Mice Study
A study reported in the Schizophrenia Bulletin May, 2013, conducted by U.S. team of scientists from Columbia University and the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, found mice engineered with a human gene for schizophrenia called DISC1 and exposed to lead during early life exhibited behaviors and structural changes in their brains consistent with schizophrenia.
These findings may hold answers for other conditions as schizophrenia, autism, and other psychiatric disorders share genetic underpinnings according to an international consortium of researchers.
Why Lead Poisoning May Be Causing Your Health Problems by Dr. Mark Hyman
“Studies Show Any Lead in Your Body May be Unsafe” ~ Mark Hyman, MD
How shocked would most women be to know they may be putting lead on their lips every single day? Lipstick with excessive levels of lead daily affects both women, and those they kiss, including their child. Why is there lead in our lipstick?
“in 2009 the FDA released a follow-up study that found lead in all samples of lipstick it tested, at levels ranging from 0.09 to 3.06 ppm”
“Lead builds up in the body over time and lead-containing lipstick applied several times a day, every day, can add up to significant exposure levels. The latest studies show there is no safe level of lead exposure,” said Mark Mitchell, MD, MPH, president of the Connecticut Coalition for Environmental Justice.
The Environmental Protection Agency explains that lead exposure can have devastating effects, especially on young children. According to the EPA, exposure to this heavy metal in children can lead to brain and nervous system damage, behavior and learning problems, stunted growth and hearing issues. Furthermore, the government site explains that children’s growing skin absorbs more of the chemical than that of adults.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry explains that lead targets the nervous system in humans. It can result in weakness, increased blood pressure, anemia, and brain and kidney damage. High exposure levels can result in miscarriage or affect sperm production. Exposures to lead can affect development and behavior in children.
National Health and Nutrition Exposure Survey explains that lead can interfere with actions of nutrients, enzymes, regulatory proteins, and other physiological mechanisms in the body, as well as gene expression. Lead poisoning can result in anemia, kidney damage, seizures, abdominal pain, and neurocognitive effects.
So what can be done to protect from lead contaminated foods and products? For gardeners you can think about purchasing potting soils tested free of lead and growing your produce in this soil instead. For products you can look for those that clearly state they are “tested free of heavy metals.” If purchasing supplements which have less regulations than pharmaceuticals, search for those which are formulated and/or endorsed by a world renowned medical doctor. Look to see if the manufacturer states in writing that the product is tested free of heavy metals. If you can’t find that information in writing call the manufacturer and ask.
For the past decade in our nonprofit we have been supplementing essential fatty acids to for children with neurologically based communication impairments to help accelerate progress. As a group we have always sought out those brands that do test to be free of heavy metals and impurities. Since December 2009 we have as a group found dramatic success by providing as well all of the essential amino acids and nutrients from 100 % natural food sources through Nutriiveda to the same children. Nutriiveda is both formulated and endorsed by a team of world renowned medical doctors including Dr. Deepak Chopra, and is well documented to be tested free of heavy metals, as well as tested free of herbicides, pesticides and hormones.
It is my opinion that if the government is unable to provide all the protection we need for our children and ourselves, that companies that want increased sales will make sure they start testing their goods and thus being able to state “tested free of heavy metals” clearly on the packaging. Perhaps we need to form a Good Housekeeping type “seal of approval” from an independent or government respected source in environmental toxins who finds and approves those products tested free of heavy metals. And not just products, but meats and produce shouldn’t just be labeled “organic” but should be tested for heavy metals as well and labeled if tested to be free of heavy metals, not just hormone and pesticide free.
Clearly, we need to do something not just to clean up lead here in the US, but to find ways to clean up toxic lead to help save lives in areas such as Nigeria where tragically so many hundreds of babies and toddlers perished from lead poisoning without barely a mention in US news.
Nutritional Strategy: Foods Can Help Protect Your Child From Lead Poisoning
From the Office of Environmental Health
If your children have been exposed to lead, you can protect them by making sure they eat well. Eating good foods will help their bodies fight lead poisoning. Children get lead poisoning because they accidentally swallow small amounts of lead or lead dust. Lead may be in the paint, dust, or soil in and around the home, or in drinking water or food. Children may take in dangerous amounts of lead because they often put their hands and other things in their mouths. Lead can damage the brain and other organs in young children.
Serve your child at least three meals a day
Children have higher risk of lead poisoning when: they have poor appetites they have poor nutrition They do not eat regularly Poor nutrition and an empty stomach make the body absorb more lead. Feed your child well-balanced meals. If your child does not eat much at a time, let him or her eat smaller meals more often. Read more.
Future Of The Food Supply
While most buy organic, which simply means “organic produce and other ingredients are grown without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, genetically modified organisms, or ionizing radiation. Animals that produce meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products do not take antibiotics or growth hormones,” there is no way to know if a food contains heavy metals unless it’s tested free of it.
Consumer Reports “purchased 15 protein powders and drinks mainly in the New York metro area or online and tested multiple samples of each for arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury. The results showed a considerable range, but levels in three products were of particular concern because consuming three servings a day could result in daily exposure to arsenic, cadmium, or lead exceeding the limits proposed by USP.”
Food Tested Free Of Heavy Metals
NV original is one food product where each food ingredient as well as the final product is tested free of any heavy metals, as well as hormones, pesticides or herbicides, stimulants, preservatives, or any genetically modified or synthetic contaminants. In fact NV original is tested numerous times to assure it’s purity. What other foods are like this out there? Shouldn’t there be a list of them?
Along with possible regulations on the international food supply, will a demand for foods tested free of heavy metals be the future of labels in our local super markets?
And another question; While lead in low dosages may only lower IQ by a few points, who would notice that in the short term without cognitive testing before and after exposure to lead? And, over time will we continue to diminish the intelligence of the human species? And how much have we already?
Written by Lisa Geng, mother to two boys that were both “late talkers” who are doing great today. President and Founder of the Cherab Foundation, and Co Author of The Late Talker book St Martin’s Press