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How to Avoid Lead Poisoning from Jewelry

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Lead is a toxic substance extremely harmful to people’s health. Both adults and children are susceptible to its adverse effects, but kids under the age of six are especially vulnerable to lead’s negative influence as their brain and central nervous system are still being formed.

Even low levels of exposure might cause reduced IQ, attention deficit disorders, behavioral problems, stunted growth and impaired hearing in children.

High levels of lead poisoning can result in mental retardation, coma and even death. Multiple researchers have confirmed a direct link between early lead exposure and extreme learning disability. Lead can cause increased blood pressure, fertility problems, muscle and joint pains, irritability and memory or concentration problems in adults.

The causes of lead poisoning

Whereas adults’ lead poisoning is predominantly the result of occupational hazard, most children get exposed to lead at home through deteriorating paint, household dust, soil, air, and drinking water. The lead dust equivalent to a single grain of salt is enough for a child to register a high blood lead level.

Another source of hazard can be household items like lead-containing jewelry and ceramics. The children’s practice of taking hands and all objects they have into the mouth. Mouth is the entrance into the body for lead, and thus a child is easily poisoned. The level of contamination correlates with the adverse effect of this harmful substance. Just one touch or lick can result in health problems, so it’s vitally important to be on the alert. March 24/06.... REEBOK recalls bracelets after girl in U.S. dies of lead poisoning
Click here for report.

‘Self-defense’

Unfortunately, the practice shows that extremely inexpensive jewelry is of a very low quality and it’s dangerous. To avoid the risks, make sure that the store you buy the jewelry in is a reputable one.

Here are some general safety tips on jewelry. Avoid metal jewelry with visible solder. It usually contains high amounts of lead.

Be careful with crystal glass beads (at least if it came out from ‘nowhere’), or pewter jewelry. Buying metal-containing jewelry that is sold through vending machines is also quite dangerous from this point of view because of the low quality of it. Always buy children's jewelry from a reputable source. Unless you are sure it is a ‘lead free’ variety, limit the use of jewelry that is either completely made of plastic, or from precious materials, such as gold or sterling silver.

Another important step is to check all jewelry you already have at home. Nowadays, various manufacturers offer what is called a lead test kit. ‘The Lead Inspector by Abotex’, sold online, is designed both for jewelry and other household items, like tap water and soil. Having checked all queerly things at home, remove all low-quality lead-containing jewelry and other objects from your home as there’s no other way to avoid extra hazard.

What to do in case of lead poisoning

The symptoms of lead poisoning are reduced IQ, nausea, abdominal pain, irritability, insomnia, excess lethargy, or hyperactivity and headache. Don’t fail to contact your doctor for medical information and do a blood test as soon as possible. According to the results the doctor can prescribe necessary medication to reduce existing lead level. Even if you know or at least suspect that you or your children have been in contact with lead-containing objects, call your doctor immediately.

Svetlana Rybachenko
Fashion Editor

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