Mum warns other parents about lead poisoning risk

A mum has spoken of her shock that her son has lead poisoning [Photo: Getty]
A mum has spoken of her shock that her son has lead poisoning [Photo: Getty]

A mum has told of her shock after discovering that her three-year-old son has lead poisoning, which she believes he was exposed to in the family bathroom.

The mum-of-two from Sydney, Australia started to notice that her oldest son was having behavioural issues and tests revealed he had autism.

Further tests by the family doctor in order to gain more of an insight into her son’s diagnosis found “lead toxicity” in the results.

The mum, who wishes to remain anonymous told Yahoo News Australia her son started experiencing “sleeplessness, extreme emotional outbursts, and inability to self-regulate.”

Though it would be easy to dismiss his behaviour as him acting up, following the results of the test she started to question whether lead was the cause.

After doing some research online about lead poisoning and potential causes of her son’s lead exposure, the mum, who also has a 13-month-old son, came across a parenting blog about original bathrooms.

The blog explained that many homes built before 1970, could contain lead baths.

Having bought a testing kit to use on the bath in her own home, built in the 1950s, the mum’s fears were realised.

“Once I swabbed the bath, the dye reacted with the lead and instantly turned red,” she said.

Now the mother wants to warn other parents to check their older homes for traces of lead, because children are particularly at risk of lead toxicity.

READ MORE: Parents find driving with children distracting, here's how to be car safe

Children are at a greater risk of lead poisoning [Photo: Getty]
Children are at a greater risk of lead poisoning [Photo: Getty]

What is lead poisoning?

According to NHS Scotland lead poisoning can occur when lead enters the body. In most cases it's small amounts of lead consumed over time that build up and cause health problems.

“Exposure to lead can be harmful especially to unborn babies and young children,” the site explains.

“Children absorb more lead than adults due to their growing bones and other organs which lead can become deposited in.”

The signs and symptoms in young children can include:

  • irritability and fatigue

  • loss of appetite and weight loss

  • abdominal pain

  • vomiting

  • constipation

  • hearing loss

  • developmental delay and learning difficulties

READ MORE: What is 'dry drowning' and what are the signs and symptoms parents need to look out for?

Who is at risk of lead poisoning?

The site points out that the risk of lead poisoning is very small because generally lead is no longer used in paints, petrol or food containers.

However, if you have an older property (built before 1970) with lead pipes, there’s a small risk this can result in lead contaminating the water supply.

According to the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) if you think your child has some of the symptoms of lead poisoning then you should contact your GP.

“Particularly if you have spotted a potential source of lead poisoning such as flaking leaded paint, which can be found in older houses painted before the 1992 ban on lead in paint,” the site explains.