Higher Lead Poisoning Risk for Immigrant Children

Immigrant children are five times more likely to suffer from lead poisoning than children born in the U.S., says a new study by the NYC Health Department, with the newest immigrants at highest risk. Those most affected were children from countries where lead is less tightly regulated than in the U.S. The study is the first to examine lead poisoning in NYC's immigrant children and is available at www.ajph.org. 

Of 800 home investigation cases in 2006, lead-based paint was responsible for 80% of U.S.-born and 65% of foreign-born children. Other sources of lead exposure for foreign-born children include pollution, foods, herbal medicines, dishes, toys, jewelry, and cosmetics from their home countries. Lead testing in children ages 1 and 2 is required by law. The study suggests that foreign-born children should be tested for blood-lead levels at all ages. 

For information on products to avoid, visit www.nyc.gov/html/doh/html/lead/lead.shtml. To find out how to protect your child from lead poisoning, go to www.nyc.gov/html/doh/downloads/pdf/public/dohmhnews6-03.pdf or call 311 for free brochures.

Augustine Akalonu