The law requires your health care provider to notify your local Department of Health that your child has been lead poisoned and under the Department of Health’s own protocol an appointment to inspect your home may be made.  If the DOH inspects your home for lead they will bring an XRF machine with them.  An XRF machine is technically known as an X-Ray Flourescence Spectrometer and is a state-of-the-art scientific tool.  An XRF will read the amount of lead contained in the combined layers of paint.  This is necessary because when paint chips or peels off of a painted surface it does it in a package of paint fashion, many layers of paint separate from the painted surface not just the top layer of paint.  If the amount of lead is above the legal limit, the DOH will issue an Order directing the owner, or managing agent, of the property to fix or abate the hazardous lead based paint conditions.

Usually during the first inspection there is a visual inspection of the home performed and an interview is done of the family members.  Also, other residences where the child may spend a substantial amount of time may be identified and those supplemental addresses may be inspected for the presence of hazardous lead based paint conditions.

The manner in which an abatement is performed and who performs an abatement is carefully controlled by federal regulations.  The owner and the contractor he hires must follow these regulations. It is very important that the child not be present while the work is being performed and that the clean up work after the repairs are made is certified so that there is no residual dust in the home and that further exposure to the child is avoided.

Lead poisons the brain and the central nervous system of children at levels of 10 micrograms per deciliter and higher.  In 2012, the CDC issued findings that blood lead levels of 5 micrograms per deciliter and higher are also a health and safety concern, capable of causing injury.  It is mistaken by the child’s body as calcium, and is stored in the child’s bones.  It is also mistaken by the child’s body as iron and it is carried in the blood and stored in the child’s body’s soft tissue and in  her brain.  Lead is especially toxic to children under the age of seven, as that is the age when brain development occurs.

Under the age of seven, a child’s brain develops the bridges over which information travels, is stored, processed, retained and is recalled.  Lead impacts the growth and development of dendrites, the finger-like endings, which allow brain cells to communicate with each other.  It also impacts the myelin, which is a coating that allows brain cells to communicate quickly with each other, and it interferes with neurotransmitters in the brain that allow the transfer of impulses between brain cells.  As a result lead poisoning causes:

  • Reduced Intelligence
  • Cognitive Impairments
  • Learning Disabilities
  • Attention Problems
  • Behavioral Problems
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