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Lead Dust in Cars Key Source of Childhood Poisoning

Lead Dust in Cars Key Source of Childhood Poisoning

Last year, some cases of childhood lead poisoning in Maine derived from an atypical source and that is lead dust tracked into family vehicle.

According to the government officials, very recently six cases have been the first recognized to lead dust on child safety seats. However, the seats themselves were not the main source; inside of the family cars were polluted with the parents' workplace.

The parents had lead dust on their apparels from workplace and then they shed those in their cars, as reported by Tina Bernier, from the Maine Department of Health and Human Services.

Parents that work in paint removal should change and get bath prior to getting into their cars while going home. Bernier said that Maine parents having lead-poisoned kids told that their employers do not provide them that facility.

Lead is a metal that has been widely and commonly used in gasoline and paint. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), lead has harmful properties to damage children's important body organs like kidneys and brain. Severe and intense exposure to lead can cause convulsions, coma and even death. On the other hand, lower level of lead can decrease intelligence level, damage hearing and generate other serious health conditions.

In general, children especially those who live in old decrepit houses or houses under renovation are the main victims of lead-poisoning. Children may pick up dust or paint chips and put them into their mouth. However, the definite source of lead poisoning is still not identified.

In 2008, CDC conducted a study in Maine, on 66 children with lead poisoning; but six out of those cases were identified with contamination in the children's house.

The research fellows then checked the family cars and revealed alarming levels of lead on the car floor as well as on the car seats, vans and trucks. In every case, father or mother's boyfriend worked at trades that pursued metal recycling or disposed paint from old houses.

They found lead dust also on the child's seats.

Mary Jean Brown, the chief of Lead Poisoning Branch at CDC said that the children either chew on sides of their seats or they put cookies down on the car floor or car seat and then again they eat it.

Checking of cars and child seats are now included to their lead investigation, as said by the Maine officials.

Parking a car near worksites with open windows could be another reason of lead dust contamination as mentioned by Brown. However, Bernier is not completely agreed with this fact. She said that there was no definite evidence of what exactly happened in Maine's childhood lead-poisoning cases.

The report was published in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report by CDC.

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