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Lead Poisoning and Kids

Lead Poisoning: What It Is, How to Test, What to Do

What to Do for Children With Lead Poisoning continued...

What does work? Rosen says the first thing to do is to have the child's pediatrician work with local health authorities to find and remove the source of lead poisoning.

Second, Rosen recommends making sure children with high lead levels get a diet rich in calcium and iron. This, he says, helps prevent intestinal absorption of lead and speeds elimination of lead from the body.

"We are recommending a diet replete in calcium-rich foods such as milk and cheese and iron-rich foods such as fresh green vegetables and some red meat," he says. "If a child is iron deficient, yes, we recommend supplements, but unless lab tests show this, we do not put these children on iron supplements."

This does not mean forcing a child to drink gallons of milk and to eat pounds of spinach.

"In essence, I am really saying a child with high lead levels should be on a well-balanced, healthy diet," Rosen says.

Rosen admits that frustrated parents may want to do more. But he says that if lead has been removed from the child's environment and the child gets a healthy diet, lead levels will naturally decrease over time.

Rosen also suggests that children who have had high blood lead levels should be assessed by a neuropsychologist at age 6 years to evaluate the need for educational interventions.

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