A four year old boy died of lead poisoning on
February 22, 2006 after
swallowing a heart-shaped charm from a bracelet
that came with a pair of Reebok childrenís shoes.
Severe swelling in his brain led to his death;
he had vomiting, listlessness and other symptoms
before he had seizures and stopped breathing.
Tests showed that this charm contained more than
99 percent lead. Although it has been recalled,
300,000 were distributed and an
unknown number remain in peopleís homes.
YOUR HOME FOR THIS PRODUCT IMMEDIATELY.
small metal jewelry items intended for children, but
containing lead, have been recalled in recent months.
Lead is easily absorbed into a childís
most dangerous effects are on the nervous system.
The rapid, dramatic effects experienced by this
young boy are unusual, but even low levels of lead
can cause learning and behavior problems, hearing
loss, and lowered IQ. Early symptoms are not specific
for lead and can include stomach upset, decreased
appetite, fatigue and irritability.
The most common sources of lead poisoning in
children are paint, water, ceramics, some imported
cosmetics (e.g. kohl eye liner), and some imported
foods (recently, candies from Mexico). Mouthing or
swallowing lead items such as jewelry, old toy
soldiers, fishing weights, bullets, and drapery weights
can lead to the
sudden onset of lead poisoning, as happened with
the young boy above.
Any child at risk for lead poisoning can be tested by
a pediatrician or clinic. There are treatments for lead
poisoning, but they are most effective if they are
Prevention is the key to avoiding dangers of lead
poisoning. Parents can follow these steps:
- If your home was built before 1980, the paint
may contain lead. Any peeling, flaking, or powdered
paint may cause lead poisoning in a child and should
be professionally evaluated. Your county health
department can help.
- If your home has old water pipes, they may be a
source of lead. Water can be tested for lead
content. If there is any uncertainty, run the water
for a few minutes after itís been standing (for
example, overnight) before using for cooking or
- Ceramics, especially imported ceramics, and
crystal can contain lead and if so, should not be
used for food or beverages. Home test kits are
available at hardware stores.
- Small metal objects should NOT be used as toys
for young children both because of the choking
hazard and the risk of lead poisoning. Such toys
intended for older
children must be kept out of sight and reach of
For more information about the recall of this charm,
go to http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prh
tml06/06119.html or call 800-638-2772. Reebok
has information at 800-994-6260.
For more information about recalls, including other
found to contain lead, go to http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/cate
gory/child.html or call 800-638-2772.
For extensive information about preventing lead
poisoning from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention, go to
If you have questions about lead poisoning or the
symptoms of lead poisoning, call your poison center
at 1-800-222-1222. The experts at the National
Capital Poison Center are available 24 hours a day, 7
days a week.
This alert does not replace our usual quarterly
enewsletter. Special editions of The Poison
be sent to you when/if critical poison prevention