Thursday, September 6, 2007

Mattel Toy Recall: Reduce the Risk and Prevent Lead Toxicity in Children

With a recall of close to 21 million toys; Mattel Toy manufacturer and parents of children playing wtih Mattel toys, like Sesame Street characters, Barbie and Polly Pocket, Batman and Fisher-Price trains, face significant fear of potential cases of lead poisoning and high lead toxicity levels in children.

For worrysome parents wondering if their children are impacted by potential lead toxicity; there are a few signs to watch out for as well as a few dietary adjustments that can positively effect children's health.

Lead toxicity has been problematic for children world wide and has been recognized for thousands of years. Sypmtoms characterized by lead poisoning are colicky abdominal pains, vomiting, fagitue, dizziness, headaches, anemia and even seizures. Often children do not present symptoms and your best bet is to have their blood tested for lead.

Parents can help safeguard their children's natural defenses against lead poisoning by feeding their children an organic diet rich in iron, calcium and fiber. Foods rich in iron and calcium reduce lead absorption. Additionally, diets high in fiber decrease lead absorption. Fortified whole grain breads and cereals are key in your child's diet. Avoid high fat diets as they speed lead absorption. Two super food to prevent lead poisoning: Spinach and Brown Rice.

Children absorb lead either through inhalation or ingestion; they absorb 30% more lead than adults. In the body, lead alters cellular and mitochondiral membranes; ultimately harming and impacting cells. Often this impact is classified as cellular fragility. It is particularly most harmful in children who's cells are growing at rapid speeds and it retards the release of human growth hormone and can cause learning disabilities, behavior problems and even organ damage.

According to Rania Habal, MD, Assistant Professor, Department of Emergency Medicine at New York Medicine College:
Lead Exposure/Lead Poisoning symptoms to look for based on toxicity levels include:

Mild toxicity - Fatigue, loss of interest in play and leisure activity, mood disorders, irritability, aggressive behavior, sleep disturbances
Moderate toxicity - Headache, fatigue, insomnia, dizziness, tremors, hyperreflexia, numbness of the lower extremities
Severe toxicity - Lead encephalopathy that may occur with or without cerebral edema, headaches with vomiting, lethargy alternating with lucidity, bizarre and aggressive behavior, clumsiness, loss of coordination, altered sensorium, seizures, and coma

Mild toxicity - Anorexia, constipation, intermittent severe abdominal pain
Moderate toxicity - Abdominal pain, anorexia and weight loss, constipation, diarrhea
Severe toxicity - Severe abdominal pain; vomiting and diarrhea with extensive fluid losses, leading to circulatory collapse
Other - Moderate lead toxicity is associated with musculoskeletal symptoms, including bone and joint pains and muscular weakness, especially of the dominant upper extremity.

An organic diet will always has a positive impact on your children's heath and wellbeing and can reduce other risk factors as well as limit lead absorption.
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