Lead exposure warning for parents - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Lead exposure warning for parents

October 25, 2005

Tifton - Halloween is less than a week away, but getting your kids ready for treats could be very tricky. Why? Because some Halloween costumes contain a highly toxic metal.

Tift Regional Pediatrician, Dr. Shawn West says, "If kids are exposed to a small amount of lead, they some anemia, low blood count. Lead can lead on to more problems. It can damage organs in the body, in particular, it can damage the brain. We know it lowers IQ levels in children."

WALB was alerted to the leaded materials by a viewer, who said he found a lead warning on a bag, so we went shopping and found the same warning on several other products, like a mask.

West says the warning should send up red flags to parents. "If there's any lead based paint on the inside of the mask," says Dr. West, "that's where kids have their mouth and nose and can breathe that in." But other products, like a tiara and bag are less likely to cause problems, since the paint probably won't flake off and there isn't any lead dust.

One item caused big concern for Dr. West. He says, "I would not have any child wearing this." "This" is a pair of teeth, to be worn, where else, but in the mouth. West says, "The most exposure comes from a child taking a product containing lead and putting it in their mouth, or if there's lead dust and it getting in their mouth."

Although Dr. West was surprised by our findings, "I haven't seen any products that contained lead marketed towards children in a long time." He says most toys are probably of little concern and that lead exposure mainly results from environmental factors, such as paint from homes built before 1978, leaded gas, or from battery plants. If you have any concerns, you can always have your child tested.

In addition to young children, women who are pregnant should be cautious of products that contain lead, that could harm the development of fetuses.

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