Toy recall underscores importance of lead testing for children


Last updated 8/28/2007 at Noon

In the wake of the recent recall of toys made in China due to concerns about lead paint, HHSA (San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency) reminds parents to remove toys related to the recall from the home and to get their children tested for lead poisoning.

“You might not know your child has lead poisoning until they are tested,” said Wilma Wooten, MD, MPH, County Public Health Officer. “There often are no obvious symptoms. That’s why we recommend that children be tested for lead at 12 and 24 months of age, and anytime up to age 6 if they were never tested before.”

Free medical checkups, including a blood test, are available to low-income children and those covered by Medi-Cal. For information, call the Child Health and Disability Prevention Program (CHDP) at (800) 675-2229.

Toys are not the only source of lead poisoning for children. Approximately 70 percent of lead exposure to children can be attributed to environmental hazards (deteriorated paint, dirt and dust) and cultural sources, including home remedies and clay pottery.

Young children are at high risk for lead poisoning because they often put their hands and other objects in their mouths.

Lead can damage the brain, kidneys and nervous system of young children. Even low levels can cause learning and behavioral problems. Very high levels can cause retardation, convulsions, coma and death.


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