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The Silent And Stealthy Danger Destroying Children’s Minds
Dr. Patricia A. Farrell -- Psychologist Dr. Patricia A. Farrell -- Psychologist
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Tenafly, NJ
Friday, March 29, 2024


Unnoticed but there and robbing the future with every breath, it waits and, bit by bit, gains a foothold in a child’s brain.

Photo by Roselyn Tirado on Unsplash

One of the most pernicious dangers of childhood isn’t in the food they eat (as in contaminated baby formula), brutal parents, or the poor neighborhoods they may live in; it’s lead. Even middle-class American homes could not function without it in the 1920s.

At that time, you could find it in household appliances like washing machines, vacuum cleaners, irons, and ice chests, as well as in painted toys, bean bags, baseballs, and fishing lures. It was in the most detrimental places: gasoline, pipes, and paint, the materials that make up cities, and the housing stock that was always expanding. Are some of these items still around today?

People were aware of lead's harmful effects as early as the late 19th century. Trade associations and manufacturers promoted lead as vital to American consumer ideals and economic prosperity, focusing on its use in wall construction. Success came from capitalizing on the nation’s penchant for bright colors in the wake of the Great Depression.

There are several well-documented negative effects of lead exposure on children’s health, including:

Brain and neurological system injury
Decreased progress and expansion
Issues with learning and conduct
Difficulty with hearing and speaking

In certain cases, this may lead to:

Reduced intelligence
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
Academic underachievement

Flint, Michigan, is one American city that found significant lead exposure to children from the drinking water. Between April 25, 2014, and October 15, 2015, when the Flint Water System (FWS) took over as the drinking water supply from the Detroit Water Authority, around 99,000 people experienced lead exposure. The CDC has established a consumer registry to address the danger while reparative efforts are underway. But how much have children already suffered from the damage, and what will the future bring for them?

The central nervous system is the principal target of lead intoxication. Lead poisoning can have a more devastating effect on children than adults due to the developmental stage of their neural systems. Additionally, compared to adults, children absorb a more significant percentage of lead when they swallow it. How many children chew on window sills covered with lead paint? How many live in homes where lead dust swirls around the home? How many play in dirt containing lead particles?

Even at low concentrations, lead can cause learning, behavioral, and cognitive impairments in children, even without obvious acute symptoms. This condition affects the gastrointestinal system, blood, and nervous system. Symptoms may include anemia, stomach pain, weakness, and serious neurological complications like seizures, encephalopathy, and coma, which can cause brain damage.

One of the main problems is that people may not be aware of the lead hazard in their building. Lofts at the Cargill Falls Mill in Putnam, Connecticut, attracted scores of residents like Katy Slininger. Shortly after the building opened in late 2020, the building's historic grandeur and the availability of affordable apartments in an area with a severe lack of affordable housing attracted scores of residents like Katy Slininger.

The neighborhood health department informed Slininger and other tenants via a letter in December 2022 that a toddler had suffered severe lead poisoning at the building. Additionally, dangerous levels of lead dust were found in the unit.

The history behind lead paint and product use is not a pretty one, and the PR machine worked feverishly to lay the blame on residents, not industry. Parents in “slums” were to blame, not the company that had purposefully put poison in their product. They indicated that it was imperative to educate the parents on the dangers of lead paint. But what could the parents do when living in a lead-infested home?

This blaming concept and the formidable marketing and lobbying efforts of the lead business laid the groundwork for the lead dispute that would continue for many years.

In the Connecticut case, according to the available records, it is unclear whether the building’s safety for residents in terms of lead exposure was ever evaluated before they moved in.

The FDA has set up Consumer Complaint Coordinators as well as forms indicating where problems of lead may still exist.

Website: www.drfarrell.net

Author's page: http://amzn.to/2rVYB0J

Medium page: https://medium.com/@drpatfarrell

Twitter: @drpatfarrell

Attribution of this material is appreciated.

News Media Interview Contact
Name: Dr. Patricia A. Farrell, Ph.D.
Title: Licensed Psychologist
Group: Dr. Patricia A. Farrell, Ph.D., LLC
Dateline: Tenafly, NJ United States
Cell Phone: 201-417-1827
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