The American Academy of Pediatrics Call for Stricter Lead Regulations

The American Academy of Pediatrics, the nation’s leading group of pediatricians, released a statement on June 20, 2016, that claims the U.S. isn’t doing enough to prevent childhood lead poisoning.

Over the past few decades, childhood lead poisoning rates have decreased, but it is still much too high. Every year, there are approximately 600,000 new cases of children developing intellectual disabilities caused by lead exposure.

USA Today reports that the AAP’s statement was published in the medical journal, Pediatrics, one of the leading pediatric publications in the world.

The study found that six U.S. zip codes have at least 14% of children with high lead levels in their blood. The pediatricians who wrote the entry noted policies doctors should use when they come across children with high lead exposure, but they state that it’s often too late because irreversible brain damage can occur rapidly.

“We now know that there is no safe level of blood lead concentration for children,” said Dr. Jennifer Lowry, chair of the AAP Council on Environmental Health and author of the study. “The best ‘treatment’ for lead poisoning is to prevent any exposure before it happens.”

According to Medical News Today, blood lead levels of 10 ug/dl or more in children was considered to be a “level of concern.” But this new study found levels half that can still cause major mental and behavioral problems, including lower IQ, aggression, poor impulse control, hyperactivity, inattention, and worsening academic performance.

Doctors note that this study comes at a time when a national spotlight is being shined on the lead issue as cities like Flint, MI, battles their water crises.

“The recent drinking water crisis in Flint was just one indication of how our country’s aging infrastructure of jeopardizing children’s health,” said Dr. Benard P. Dreyer, President of the AAP.

“It shouldn’t take things like Flint to get the nation’s attention,” said David Jacobs, chief scientist at the National Center for Healthy Housing.

The statement suggests that doctor should keep an eye on children with any traces of lead in their blood and should ask for individual assessments of older houses.

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