Risks of Lead Poisoning


Lead poisoning is more pervasive than most Canadians think, and it usually happens right under our noses, in our own homes. Yet although parts of the United States have laws to promote lead testing of children and to minimize exposure to this dangerous substance, and Australia has a country-wide ban on lead in paint, Canada’s children are not as well protected by legislation.

Just a few thumbnail-sized chips of lead paint can raise lead intake to 1,000 times the acceptable limit. Lead poisoning causes permanent, significant brain damage — even before the symptoms of poisoning are evident.

Miniblinds and paint are the most commonly recognized culprits of lead poisioning. But lack of real awareness in Canada of this hazard means that few know lead can also exist in dangerously high levels in billiard chalk, cable covering, heavy-duty greases, pottery glaze, food cans and porcelain enamel. Few also know that a high intake of calcium offers some protection against lead.

Law clerk Bob Salvador in Mississauga, Ontario, who has assisted law firms with cases involving children with disabilities apparently caused by lead poisioning, says that “for the price of two beers, anyone can buy a lead-test kit.” He can be contacted at (416) 587-0070 or by e-mail: smokingguns@excite.com. Also check out the Global Lead Network at www.globalleadnet.org.


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