By: Elizabeth O’Brien, BSc, Grad Dip in Educational Studies (Health Educ’n)
If the blood lead results show a “less than” sign (<), then they are below the limit of detection for that lab. In response to blood lead levels above the limit of detection – either 1 or 2 micrograms per decilitre (1 or 2 ug/dL), we recommend a two-pronged approach:
1. Identify the lead source/s and remove the person from the source/s or the source/s from their environment.
2. Institute nutritional intervention by following the advice in this article.
If anyone in the family has a blood lead above 10 ug/dL the Dept. of Health should step in and send out their own lead assessor (at no cost to you) to your house. If they refuse to send someone (I can not think of any reason that they might refuse except for a lack of experienced and knowledgeable staff) purchasing one of our DIY-Sampling lab-analysis lead test kits is your best option, as the samples are collected by you but posted to a lab for analysis (the cost of analysis and an interpretive report is included in the kit price). You can test lead in your drinking water using 2 sample containers from the 8-sample Comprehensive Kit or, if you only want to test lead in drinking water, you can just buy the 2-sample Water Kit. If a child or adult has a blood lead level above the limit of detection, the Comprehensive Kit should be used – you can even ask a professional to use the Kit to collect the samples.
The most usual exposure pathway for lead poisoning in young children is ingestion (from the fingers or objects that go in the mouth) of dust or soil, so dust wipe samples and soil samples from areas in the home and yard that are accessed by the child/ren, are the best samples to test for lead. But for adults, the most usual exposure pathway (excluding lead-contaminated medicines, beverages, food or cosmetics) is inhalation – most often during renovation or demolition activities on older buildings, but also during many hobby and occupational exposure scenarios. You should go through all the sources and pathways of lead poisoning that we have managed to list (it is by no means including ALL lead sources as new sources are created regularly) here before determining what to test (if anything needs testing once you get the blood lead test results).
For the full newsletter on the topic (including links to all references) please go to:
1. LEAD Action News Vol 10 No 2 (LANv10n2) Food, Nutrition and Lead Absorption – newsletter including articles on veganism and nutrition to fight lead poisoning (including all references)
2. Fact sheet: Nutrients that reduce lead poisoning (a summary of the above newsletter article).
A more recent addition to this article is “Garlic Beats Drug in Detoxifying Lead Safely From Body” and you can follow the link on that page, to Natural Agents for Lead Poisoning for more info on garlic and pectin (and sauna) and other natural agents for the treatment of lead poisoning. I find that the easiest way to incorporate more pectin in to your diet is by eating citrus peel every day e.g. marmalade or grated lemon or other citrus zest and the white pith under the zest. This white pith contains the most concentrated fruit source of pectin, and it is easier to grate if you air-dry the citrus fruit – e.g. by the open kitchen window, for a day or so after grating the zest off. You can grate the white pith and then air-dry the fruit for another day (or more, depending how thick the pith is) before grating off more pectin-rich pith. As citrus juice is a great source of vitamin C, the final use of this “best-pectin-fruit-source” is the juice or pulp. I add citrus pectin to practically everything these days – including green smoothies!
Pectin and garlic every day for the rest of your life is a great antidote to the lead you took in every day that you were alive during the leaded petrol era (1935 to 2002 in Australia). In the USA, it is estimated that 1 in 10 people alive during the leaded petrol era (1921 to 1995 in the USA), will have their life cut short by lead (mainly through heart attack or stroke). The most concerning health impact of lead exposure for humans is that lead raises your blood pressure. People with hypertension should particularly be aiming to completely avoid further exposure to lead, and to remove lead from their bodies, in order to live a longer, healthier life.
Also, I have just finished reading “Clean, Green and Lean” by Dr Walter J Crinnion and interestingly, as a naturopathic physician, he advises everyone to eat organic food in order to reduce both toxic intakes and body burdens, which complies with my own anecdotal evidence collected by asking hundreds of people (over two decades) their blood lead level and whether they eat organic food. There seems to be a trend in that people who eat organic food are more likely to have a low blood lead level. The book is currently discounted at Book Depository in the UK and they do not charge postage.
Recent nutrition-oriented additions to our new Lead Safe World website include:
President, The Lead Education and Abatement Design (LEAD) Group Inc.
Manager, Lead Safe World Project (LSWP) – launched 26th October 2013 during the WHO Inaugural International Lead Poisoning Prevention Week of Action (20th-26th October 2013)
Lead Advisor, LEAD Group test kit results interpretation service
Founder, Volcano Art Prize (VAP) – generator of lead-safety graphics and the Lead Safe World Calendar (catalogue). See the attached preview, to see some of the nutrition-based entries from 2013 VAP and to get ideas for your own entry. Please consider entering an electronic image in the VAP and encouraging everyone you know to do the same. Go to www.volcanoartprize.com for details of the fabulous prizes.
PO Box 161 Summer Hill NSW 2130 Australia
Freecall 1800 626086 – call while you still can – our freecall number was funded up to 30 June 2013 by our federal government grant for Global Lead Advice & Support Service (GLASS) but on 4 Nov 2013 the FY2014 grant was officially denied by the federal Department of the Environment. If you can gain any media attention for our service, new website and for our art competition, please do so!!