Lead Poisoning in the 21st Century: Putting Guidelines into Place
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
There are at least 4 million households in the United States where children are exposed to lead, according to Jerome Paulson, MD, medical director for national and global affairs of Child Health Advocacy Institute at Children's National Health System.
“Lead poisoning is still an issue for young children in the United States unfortunately, particularly here in the greater Washington, D.C. area,” said Dr. Paulson. “We have a lot of homes that were built before 1978 and that’s the year that lead paint was banned from interior use. So, if you live in a home built before 1978 there may be lead paint on the walls.”
While the potential to eliminate childhood lead poisoning exists, the problem persists and primary prevention is the only appropriate approach, according to Dr. Paulson, who is also director of Mid-Atlantic Center for Children's Health and the Environment, a pediatric environmental health specialty unit based at Children’s National and one of 10 in the nation. Paulson said the unit is a resource to teach parents, physicians and public health officials about children, health and the environment.
In this video, Dr. Paulson shares insight on using specialty units such as MACCHE as a clinical and educational aid. Dr. Paulson discusses the extent of lead poisoning in the country and explains the importance of screening children and making housing lead-safe and other measures to lower blood lead levels. He said experts recommend routine testing of blood lead levels because until the level is extremely high, there are no symptoms and “a parent nor a physician would have no way of knowing that the child is getting excess exposure to lead.”