By Dr. Mercola
More than half a million US kids aged 1 to 5 years have blood lead levels higher than 5 micrograms per deciliter (µg/dL), the “level of concern” at which health problems may occur.
The new data comes from a US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report, which found 2.6 percent of young US children (535,000) may be at risk from lead poisoning.
Why Lead is So Dangerous for Children
Lead is a naturally occurring metal that was once commonly used in gasoline, paint and children’s toys, and is still a part of batteries, pipes, pottery, roofing materials and cosmetics.
Lead is known to cause damage to your brain and nervous system. Even small amounts can be dangerous, as lead builds up in your body over time.
Children under 6 are especially at risk, not only because they’re more likely to come into contact with lead via household dust and paint but also because they’re still developing and absorb it more easily than adults. The greatest risk of lead exposure is to brain development, as permanent damage can occur.
In pregnant women, lead is linked to miscarriages, premature birth, low birth weight, brain damage and reduced growth in young children. For children, lead exposure may cause:
Damage to the brain and nervous system
Behavior and learning problems, such as hyperactivity