Leaded Child Event Review

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

On or about 12-23-2010 I received an alarming call from a mother of a 4 year old girl from Northern Idaho that started out with a request to borrow my XRF analyzer to find out what was causing her child to be lead poisoned.

generic child

I asked how her child was and she went on to say that she had been to the doctor for seizures and they discovered that she was poisoned by lead among other toxic elements and were not sure what to do.

I asked what the blood lead level was and they said 26. I said that they needed to go the Emergency Department immediately assuming that it was an EBLL of 26 mcg/DL. That was when her husband got on the phone and said it was a Naturopath and they had tested her hair for lead, and that the child was behaving normally now. There was a suspicion of correlation between seizures and fever.

They said that they live near the edge of the Silver Valley a well known EPA Super Fund Site and that they felt that the local establishment was confused about what was causing her seizures.  The parents were frustrated and trying to take matters into their own hands to find out what in the environment is polluting the child. They also had a lingering fear of having their child taken away from them.

Turns out that they had contacted a sales representative for the analyzer that I own and he had in turn referred the family to me.

I explained the XRF analyzer is a sophisticated scientific tool and that they would need training but that I wanted to help get them get the correct information and local help.

I was approaching the problem from several angles.

Medically, I wanted to know the relationship of blood to hair sampling. I also wanted the family to know that alternative medicine is a real thing, but that if their child is being over diagnosed that unnecessary Chelation has side effects too. I quickly made contact with the Silver Valley lead establishment and they offered all the assistance for free that was needed. They also said that when they were established nearly 20 years ago it was not uncommon to see a 20mcg/BLL

My Home State

Environmentally I explained that proper hand hygiene and eliminating hand to mouth contact was important, especially with painted toys and dust and dirt was hazardous. I recommended a healthy diet rich in Iron and Calcium, I also wanted to know that they hadn’t been giving the child alternative medicines that may contain clay or dirt. Or Mexican candies, they did not have lead hobbies like stained glass or bullet reloading, some common unusual leaded things. They assured me that they lived in a 5 year old home and were on a municipal water system and that they only used well water for irrigation, and that they were not giving the child any weird medicines or potions. They did however state that they had a spa and that the agent that they used to clarify the water had a proprietary mixture of chemicals.

I requested and received the hair sampling results that were produced by a lab in Utah in August of 2010 so my anxiety level dropped a bit. Then I asked Lead-Net what the relationship of hair sampling was to blood and I also checked into the accuracy of hair sampling. Turns out it is often a 10:1 ratio and that hair sampling is wildly inaccurate because of the potential for surface contamination and destroying hair during the sample preparation phase.

In speaking with our medical director he agreed that blood testing is the only recognized test that is used to base treatment upon.

After constant nagging and sending them excerpts from many articles and e-mails they did have their child’s blood tested in January and it came back at .26mcg/DL  and I happened to know the western medicine DO that they chose to use. The strong suspicion was hair toxicity was caused by topical exposure to chemicals related to the new spa.

Was it a false alarm… Perhaps? It was a good practice run and I felt gratified that it only took a month to resolve.

I received some happy for good news E-Mails, and some angry E-Mails when I posted the news that the child was safe. Turns out the Silver Valley Lead folks take this stuff very seriously and felt they should have been more involved. The most interesting response was from a guy that also doubted me and was critical of several statements on my web site. I answered him politely thanked him for his comments and he in turn revealed his identity to me. He was the guy that everyone who has taken a RRP class saw in the video… As he said… “I’m the Idiot that leaded my own kids.” 15 years ago. We are friends now.