Monday, April 8, 2013



Ideally our children will have no lead in their systems. Unfortunately many of us live in environments where our kids are in fact getting exposed.

Between the ages of 9-15 months, many doctors will suggest a routine blood test. Most often we will order a CBC ( complete blood count) which will check their iron level and a lead level.
Typically the lowest report that we get from most labs will be < 3. It is rarely reported as an actual 0.
Anything over 3 means that there is some measurable lead exposure.
No result over 5 should be ignored.
A level higher than 10 is cause for concern.
A level higher than 45 needs urgent medical attention.

As of this year 2013:
If your child in San Francisco has any measurable lead level the city will send out a public health nurse to help you explore your environment and see if they can figure out the source.

Common Sources can include:

*paint chips. (House built before 1978 are most at risk)
*lead pipes (run the cold water for a minute or so before drinking) 
...Use the initial water for watering plants or something

*keys ( don't let your child chew on them)

*Brightly painted pottery or toys ( beware of things imported from different countries The brighter the color, the more apt they are to have lead)

*Antique furniture varnish

*Some lipstick brands

*Some candies imported from other countries

*some computer cables ( of course chewing on cables is not a good idea no matter what)

*Dirt and sand that get tracked in from outdoors

Most of the lead gets into your child from the hand to mouth route. They either chew on something directly, or put hands that have been in contact with lead dust into their mouths.

Prevention is the best defense!
Do the best you can to make sure there are no obvious lead sources inside your home.
Consider having a 'shoes off' policy to avoid tracking lead dust inside.
Make sure your kids get in the habit of frequent hand washing, especially before meals and snacks

A nutritious diet is VERY important. Iron, calcium and Vitamin C compete with lead for absorption.

If you have any concerns about your home, regardless of whether or not your child has been tested, call the SF lead program to arrange a public health nurse visit.

The SF department of Public health lead prevention program phone number is 415-252-3888
The public health nurse is Margarita Herrera 415-252-3897

Below is a link to information regarding lead for Pregnant women

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