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Lead Poisoning and the Family

  • By: Alan D. Woolf & Michelle Zeager
  • In: Encyclopedia of Family Health
  • Edited by: Martha Craft-Rosenberg & Shelley-Rae Pehler
  • Subject:Family Health, Family Policy, Family Law

Lead is a common environmental contaminant, and human lead poisoning has been recognized since antiquity. It continues to pose a major threat to the health of families in the United States. The elimination of lead from gasoline, food-containing tin cans, plumbing and solder, house paint and plaster, and other commercial products has reduced the population's mean blood lead concentration to safer levels. However, there is continuing exposure to lead from parental occupational sources, contaminated paint and plaster in older homes, and novel sources such as imported pottery, herbs, and ethnic remedies. About 250,000 children aged 1 to 5 years old in the United States still have elevated blood lead levels. Health professionals must remain vigilant in their lead screening practices for children as well as ...

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