With all that’s going on with one city’s population being poisoned by lead (read tomorrow’s post on The PediaBlog to learn more about events in Flint, Michigan), Jill Daly asked our own Dr. Joe Aracri to weigh in on his experience with lead poisoning in today’s Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

Joseph Aracri, who sees patients in the Pediatric Alliance Green Tree office, said doctors follow lead screening guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics. Children get their lead screening when they are getting their first childhood immunizations.

“Kids are routinely screened for lead at 9 months,” Dr. Aracri said. “We do it again at 2 years of age. We are constantly screening kids for exposure.

“Since I’ve been in Pittsburgh, 25 years, we’ve rarely found someone with lead at a toxic level,” Dr. Aracri said. As a medical resident in Camden, N.J., he said, he found a different situation: Children with toxic levels of lead in their blood were routinely found, and they had to undergo chelation treatment to remove the lead.

Dr. Aracri said in Pittsburgh, the source of higher lead levels is primarily old lead-based paint, which was banned in 1977. Dr. Pizon explained, “We have older homes, paint chipping off, children eating it. We need to watch out for lead paint in older homes.”

“As long as the paint is intact or painted over, not chipping, then it’s safe,” Dr. Aracri said. He noted that he has seen children adopted from China who had high levels of lead in their blood, attributed to lead found in pottery used in that country.

Doctors alert the Allegheny County Health Department, Dr. Aracri said. Then the house is inspected — walls, water supply and outside soil. “The health department does a very thorough environmental check,” Dr. Aracri said. “Then they work on lead eradication in the home.”


Read more of Jill Daly’s “Dangers of lead in children: Q&A” here.

Read the first two PediaBlog posts in our week-long series on lead poisoning here and here.