Present day cases of childhood lead poisoning related to cars.


Headline: ‘Lead dust in cars source of kids' poisoning’

Article: Some childhood lead poisonings in Maine last year came from an unusual source - lead dust tracked into the family car.

Government health officials said the six cases are the first ever attributed to lead dust on childhood safety seats. The car seats themselves weren't the source; the inside of family cars were contaminated through a parent's workplace.

In 1978, the government banned lead in paint. But more than 30,000 new cases are still detected each year through doctor's office blood tests. Health officials think as many as 240,000 children have the problem, many of those undiagnosed.

Usually, the victims are children living in old homes that are dilapidated or under renovation, who pick up paint chips or dust and put it in their mouths. But sometimes an obvious source of the lead poisoning is never found.

The CDC report looked at 66 cases of childhood lead poisoning in Maine in 2008. In six cases, no contamination was found in the child's home.
Investigators then checked family vehicles, and found high levels lead on the seats and floors of the cars, trucks and vans. In each case, a father or the mother's boyfriend worked at businesses that did metals recycling or removed paint from old buildings.

The dust also got on the child car seats.

"Kids chew on the sides of those seats ... Or they put a cookie down" on the seat and then eat it, said Mary Jean Brown, chief of the CDC's Lead Poisoning Prevention Branch.

Source:, August 20th, 2009 By MIKE STOBBE , AP Medical Writer.

Today, simple household lead testing kits can be bought to test for lead content in paints (See Picture).