Check your child for elevated blood lead level

BANGALORE: Is your child not able pay attention to studies or to your instruction? Is he facing a problem with learning and reading or is he getting irritable or hyperactive? If you have obser

Published: 23rd January 2012 04:12 AM  |   Last Updated: 16th May 2012 06:20 PM   |  A+A-

BANGALORE: Is your child not able pay attention to studies or to your instruction? Is he facing a problem with learning and reading or is he getting irritable or hyperactive? If you have observed all these symptoms in him, then he could be suffering from moderately elevated blood lead level.

A recent study by a postgraduate medical student at National Referral Centre for Lead Poisoning Prevention in India (NRCLPI)  has shown that children with symptoms such as attention deficit and behavioural changes were found having moderately elevated blood lead levels. The study was conducted on 100 children who are below five years of age. Of them, a total of 18 per cent tested positive for elevated blood lead level.

Speaking to The New Indian Express, Dr Thuppil Venkatesh, Principal Advisor, Quality Council of India (QCI) and National Referral Centre for Lead Poisoning in India (NRCLPI) said, “All these children had no history of lead from any source like battery or paints. The study shows traces of lead in everything from children’s costume, jewellery to candies to soil. Drinking water is also a major source of lead.”  Data available at NRCLPI shows that today, every one is exposed to low levels of lead and nearly every second child has unacceptable (measurable) levels of lead in their bodies.  This universal low-level exposure makes lead an ideal candidate for the disorder to trigger.  A world-wide study states that attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is among the costliest of  behavioural disorders  caused by exposure to environmental lead.  In children, it can be caused by elevated blood levels of >10ug/dl.  Parallel studies indicate that the most common sources of lead are from painted toys, exposure to lead acid batteries and some traditional medicines containing  lead. Lead is well known  neurotoxin causing irreversible damage to neurological system.

NRCLPI at St John’s Medical College in collaboration with Quality Council of India is helping government to develop regulation to drastically reduce environmental lead apart from creating awareness amongst general public.Regulating automobile fuel and paint will not entirely eliminate lead from the environment.  NRCLPI has created facilities to screen children’s blood lead levels at three centres in Bangalore. They are NRCLPI at St John’s Medical College, Baptist Hospital Hebbal and Kanva diagnostics in Rajaji Nagar.

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