Lead Poisoning: An Escapable Epidemic

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Lead poisoning is either acute or chronic poisoning due to the absorption of lead into the body. Lead poisoning in the U.S. is widespread, under-diagnosed, and preventable.

Lead is invisible, and it is everywhere. About 24 million U.S. homes – and not just the homes of low-income families – contain deteriorated lead-based paint, lead water pipes, and elevated levels of lead-contaminated house dust. Just a tiny amount of contaminated household dust can cause lead poisoning in children.

There is no safe level of lead exposure. Even blood lead levels beneath the current Centers for Disease Control Action Levels can cause physical or mental damage – but because exposure often occurs with no obvious symptoms, it frequently goes undiagnosed, and therefore, untreated. Lead exposure can affect almost every system in the body – including the brain, heart, lungs, kidneys, and bones – and at extremely high levels, can be fatal.

Lead is toxic to everyone, but newborn babies, infants, and young children are at greatest risk for health problems due to lead poisoning. Their smaller systems are more susceptible to absorbing and retaining lead, and because their bodies are growing, lead can do more developmental damage – leading to fetal abnormalities, cognitive impairment, neurological issues, and worse.

  • Today, at least 4 million U.S. households have children being exposed to high levels of lead.
  • 1.2 million U.S. children currently have lead poisoning.
  • About 75% of lead-poisoned children are going untested, and therefore, untreated.

Currently, lead screening requires a venipuncture – 0.5-3ml of whole blood collected by inserting a needle into a child’s veins. Naturally, parents are reluctant to pursue such an intrusive and painful procedure for their babies. As a result, lead screening is regularly delayed until kids are older, or simply skipped altogether. Only about 25% of children are appropriately screened for lead exposure today.

EnMed’s EEvCarrier™ allows for early, easy lead screening.

Our unique solution offers the earliest possible detection of any blood lead level – in newborn babies and infants. And the one-drop blood sample can be collected along with the same heel-stick the state requires to screen infants for genetic disorders. If the screening shows blood lead levels, then treatment can begin immediately to stop the potentially devastating damage lead can do in a little body.