Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Immigrant Children Are At Increased Risk Of Lead Poisoning, Study Shows

Date:
December 26, 2007
Source:
New York City Health Department
Summary:
Immigrant children are five times as likely as US-born children to suffer from lead poisoning in New York City, according to a new Health Department study, and the risk is highest among the most recent immigrants.

A young girl wearing kohl -- a cosmetic that has been found to contain lead.
Credit: Image courtesy of New York City Health Department

Immigrant children are five times as likely as U.S-born children to suffer from lead poisoning in New York City, according to a new Health Department study, and the risk is highest among the most recent immigrants. The new study of children tested for lead poisoning in 2002, published online in the American Journal of Public Health in December 2007, found that children who had lived abroad within the previous six months were 11 times as likely as U.S.-born children to have lead poisoning.

The most affected children were from the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Mexico and Pakistan — nations where lead may be less tightly regulated than in the United States. The study is the first to look at lead poisoning in New York City’s immigrant children.

Lead-based paint is the primary cause of lead poisoning for both U.S. and foreign-born children in New York City, but immigrant children may face additional lead threats in their home countries. Of the 800 lead poisoned children requiring home investigations in 2006, Health Department staff identified lead paint hazards in 80% of U.S. born cases but only 65% of foreign born cases. While it is not possible to document the exact sources of lead exposure for these immigrant children, other research has shown that pollution, foods, herbal medicines, dishes, toys, jewelry, and cosmetics are sources of lead in foreign countries.

“This study suggests that immigrant children are being exposed to lead in their home countries before they arrive in New York City,” said Jessica Leighton, Deputy Commissioner of Environmental Health and co-author of the study. “And some immigrant families may be bringing tainted products with them to New York City. We encourage all parents, especially parents who are recent immigrants, to be sure their children are tested for lead poisoning at ages one and two, as required by law.”

Dr. Leighton also urged health care providers to consider blood-lead testing when caring for foreign-born children of all ages. The Health Department’s most current statistics show that while only 14% of the city’s children were born outside the United States, 18% of lead poisoned children with lead levels requiring home investigation were foreign-born.

What parents can do to Protect their children from lead poisoning:

  • Do not buy or use imported foods and spices, medicines, clay pots and dishes, cosmetics, and toys known to contain lead. For more information and a list of products to avoid, visit: http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/html/lead/lead.shtml
  • Report peeling paint to your landlord. In New York City, landlords are required to fix peeling paint in homes where young children live.
  • Remind your doctor to test your child for lead poisoning at ages 1 and 2. Ask your doctor about testing older children who may be at risk for lead exposure, including exposures in other countries.
  • Wash floors, windowsills, hands, toys, and pacifiers often.
  • Use only cold (not hot) tap water to make baby formula and for drinking and cooking. Run the water for a few minutes first.
  • What the Health Department is doing to prevent lead poisoning among immigrant children
  • Distributing educational materials in multiple languages to help immigrant parents reduce children’s exposure to lead
  • Working with community organizations to increase awareness within immigrant communities
  • Providing information to health care providers and traditional healers on lead poisoning risks and blood lead testing.
  • Educating landlords and contractors on requirements to identify and safely correct lead-based paint hazards in homes.

Lead is a toxic metal that damages the brain, nervous system, kidneys and reproductive system. Lead poisoning can also cause problems in pregnancy and can lead to learning and behavior problems in young children.

Lead poisoning remains a serious public health problem in New York City despite continued declines in the number of cases. In 2006, there were 2,310 new cases of lead poisoning among children ages 6 months to 6 years — an 88% decline since 1995, when nearly 20,000 children were newly identified with lead poisoning.

About the Data

The study, conducted in New York City in 2002 and 2003, used a multilingual telephone questionnaire to compare lead-poisoned children with children not lead poisoned. Health Department researchers interviewed the parents of more than 400 children with and without lead poisoning.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by New York City Health Department. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

New York City Health Department. "Immigrant Children Are At Increased Risk Of Lead Poisoning, Study Shows." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 December 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/12/071219202807.htm>.
New York City Health Department. (2007, December 26). Immigrant Children Are At Increased Risk Of Lead Poisoning, Study Shows. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/12/071219202807.htm
New York City Health Department. "Immigrant Children Are At Increased Risk Of Lead Poisoning, Study Shows." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/12/071219202807.htm (accessed April 17, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

AP (Apr. 16, 2014) Pushing the limits on style and self-expression is a rite of passage for teens and even younger kids. How far should schools go with their dress codes? The courts have sided with schools in an era when school safety is paramount. (April 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Couples Who Sleep Less Than An Inch Apart Might Be Happiest

Couples Who Sleep Less Than An Inch Apart Might Be Happiest

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study by British researchers suggests couples' sleeping positions might reflect their happiness. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cognitive Function: Is It All Downhill From Age 24?

Cognitive Function: Is It All Downhill From Age 24?

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) A new study out of Canada says cognitive motor performance begins deteriorating around age 24. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins