Tuesday was Jack's birthday (Yeah--happy birthday, boy!) I'll post about that event, and the subsequent, incessant, cutting and pounding (thanks, Mom) later. For now, a few lines about what's been eating at me--that is the trip to the pediatrician. I could complain about the shortage of HIB vaccine or Jack's mysterious spreading rash which the doctor proclaimed was "contact dermatitis" (my ass). Or I could say how weird it is that Jack's head size didn't change at all, and sometimes increases or even decreases in size depending on who the nurse is. I could also rave about how well Jackson takes his pricks, staring stoically and in silence at the nurse. These topics are all of passing interest.
The thing that's eating at me is the lead test, taken by capillary. By way of background, it has been determined that there is no safe level of lead. The Dept of Health gets involved when the level is > 10 micrograms/deciliter, serious action with chelation and home remediation starts at around 50 micrograms/deciliter. Jackson's lead levels were below these thresholds at 5 micrograms/deciliter. By official lead accounting, its normal and nothing to be alarmed about. Except that the level should be nothing, zip, zero, undetectable. There are studies that show a linear relationship between even low lead levels of lead and IQ impact. 10 micrograms/deciliter has an impact of -7 IQ points. (There go the "trivial" few IQ points I pumped so much precious, time consuming, stressful breast milk to give my child.)
Historically speaking, lead levels of kids my age (born 1976-1980) had a mean value of 15 micrograms/deciliter. After lead paint was banned in 1978, the levels have gone down, and today's kids have a mean value of 2.7 micrograms/deciliter. Jackson's level is twice that.
We live in a brand new house (see previous post), with clean well water running through new lead free pipes. We don't use brightly colored foreign stoneware (as far as it can be avoided). We don't have antique tin toys or let Jackson play with the ammunition. So, where is the contamination coming from? I've been through latest list of lead based toy recalls. Nothing we own is on the list, but there are certainly similar items. It could be anything. Is it the painted spots on his bath toys? The zippers on his pants? The vinyl housed flashing light of his spider man jacket? How about his toy boxes? Or new froggy boots that he's worn all day every day since Easter? Maybe a contaminant in his daily multivitamin. Is it our dishes? They're purchased in a US big box store and light in color (typically reds are more likely to be lead based glazes). We only have 1 vinyl mini blind in the house, but that could be the source.
Point is, there is no way of knowing where the lead is coming from. This is a consequence of globalization and failure to enforce regulations. Even buying all of our consumer goods from reputable US made sources (as if that were possible) wouldn't guarantee safety, since they could just as easily get a batch of contaminated raw materials to work with.
In our home, we go through considerable effort to avoid contaminations. We buy US goods where practical, spend extra on local-ish free range meats and organic vegetables, produce our own eggs, limit high sugar content foods (corn syrup has a 20% contamination with mercury rate, by the way), eschew manufactured food items (like those pedialyte drinks they're pushing these days). We built a new house rather than remodel an old one that might be contaminated.
Despite these efforts, we're powerless against things like heavy metal contamination or food poisoning.
2 years ago