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By offering simple steps to protect your family from lead poisoning, this document provides advice for reducing the risk of lead poisoning for families living in homes where lead exposure is suspected, likely, or where lead contamination is actually confirmed by testing.
The original U.S. CPSC document is public domain. We have made additions to the technical depth of this article and we have added additional important detail about lead hazards - these are indicated by a [bracketed note in italics]. The additional text or commentary, website design, links, and references are independent material.
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1 out of every 11 children in the United States has dangerous levels of lead in the bloodstream.
Even children who appear healthy can have dangerous levels of lead.
People can get lead in their body if they:
If not detected early, children with high levels of lead in their bodies can suffer from:
Lead is also harmful to adults. Adults can suffer from:
[The Following Addendum by DJ Friedman inserted 2/6/2006]
The NY Times article (cited below) reports on the U.N. placement of a large number of Roma refugees in camps in the north part of Kosovo and located within 200 yards of large mounds of industrial waste containing lead smelting byproducts. 100,000 to 130,000 people are believed affected by lead poisoning in this area.
Increased vulnerability to lead poisoning occurs where overall health conditions are poor, such as in these camps. Tests found that all of the children had high levels of lead and other metals: antimony, arsenic, cadmium, and manganese. The article reports that a test specialist asserted that this population showed the highest levels of lead ever measured in human hair samples [Dietrich-Runow in email to the Times].
In what appear [to DF and suggested by the article] to be extreme cases of lead poisoning, the Times reported the following symptoms and complaints, focused on symptoms appearing in children, though adults were also severely affected:
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