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Children Exposed to Lead Via Contamination of Family Car

Last Updated: August 24, 2009.

Six children were diagnosed with lead poisoning after having been exposed to the metal via their family vehicles, according to a report published in the Aug. 21 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

MONDAY, Aug. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Six children were diagnosed with lead poisoning after having been exposed to the metal via their family vehicles, according to a report published in the Aug. 21 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Tina Bernier, of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Augusta, and colleagues report on six out of 55 reported cases of lead poisoning in Maine in 2008 that could not be attributed to exposure to lead in the home. The six children, including two siblings, ranged from four to 28 months old and had a venous blood lead level ranging from 15 to 32 µg/dL.

The five families were interviewed to determine sources of exposure and an environmental examination revealed that the source was family vehicles and children's car seats, the researchers found. Four of the five had a family member with a current or recent past employment in painting and paint removal, while a fifth was a metals recycler, the investigators discovered.

"Current recommendations for identifying and reducing risk from take-home lead poisoning include 1) ensuring that children with elevated blood lead levels are identified through targeted blood lead testing, 2) directing prevention activities to at-risk workers and employers, and 3) improving employer safety protocols," the authors write. "State and federal prevention programs also should consider, when appropriate, expanded environmental lead dust testing to include vehicles and child safety seats."

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