Lead toxicity

Editor's Commentary: Protecting Children From Lead

Last month, I attended the Pediatric Academic Societies meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, where I had the privilege of meeting our readers and witnessing their passion for high-quality science that begets high-quality patient care.

In particular, I was struck by the level of audience engagement in a symposium that covered environmental toxins and the brain. Bruce Perrin Lanphear, MD, MPH, gave an excellent presentation on the population impacts of even low levels of toxins such as lead on children’s health. After the presentation, the microphones were crowded with clinicians asking for practical advice to convey to parents and sharing stories of how they have advocated for better practices in their local communities.

Based on that small sample, I am not surprised that it was a passionate pediatrician, Mona Hanna-Attisha, MD, who fought to bring the lead poisoning crisis in Flint, Michigan, to national attention. Pediatric professionals all know and take very seriously the fact that lead is a neurotoxin and that children exposed to lead experience a lifetime of consequences in the form of lowered IQ and other cognitive impairments.

Although lead exposure is commonly known to come from paint chips in older homes and from unsafe piping and water, such as in Flint, clinicians should remain aware of less obvious sources of lead ingestion. In this month’s issue, Tarik Zahouani, MD, Arkar Hlaing, MD, and Benamanahalli Rajegowda, MD, describe a case in which a lead-containing teapot resulted in elevated levels of lead in a pregnant woman. This case illustrates the opportunity to intervene prenatally and the surprising finding that it was a teapot that resulted in increased lead levels.

I hope you find this article, and others in the June issue, helpful to your practice. I encourage you to test your diagnostic abilities with What’s Your Diagnosis, Photo Quiz, Radiology Quiz, and Dermclinic, and to learn from the array of cases in Photoclinic. And as always, I invite you to share your thoughts with your colleagues and me via email (Editor@PediatricsConsultant360.com), phone (610-560-0500, ext. 4111), or online comments. 

Lauren LeBano

Managing Editor

Consultant for Pediatricians