In the wake of the Mattel toy recalls, a class action is in preparation to get Mattel to set up a fund to pay for blood testing for the many children who may have been exposed to lead through playing with Mattel toys. If you are interested in getting more information about the class action, you can follow the links below.
Lead poisoning in children is already a significant problem in certain areas of the U.S., chiefly in the north and east, where housing stock is older and leaded paint is still in a large number of residences. The Iowa Department of Public Health's Bureau of Lead Poisoning Prevention wants to see every child in Iowa, under the age of 6, given a blood test for lead.
The Bureau says that 12.3 percent of Iowa children under the age of six are currently affected by lead poisoning, a statistic that shows Iowa children are almost three times more likely to suffer from lead poisoning than American children in general. The country average for lead poisoning in this age group is 4.4 percent.
Most of the lead poisoning in the U.S. comes from lead paint in houses built before 1950. Much of this housing stock is still in use, and the danger faces children from all income levels. Poor children may live in un-renovated buildings, but children from wealthier families may live in old houses under renovation, or go to school or day care in old buildings, where lead-based paint lurks. Renovations can stir up dust and particles that are laden with lead from paint.
Here's what the health professionals are saying about blood testing for lead for young children:
1. If you are not sure whether to take your child for the test, call your doctor or the local health care center for advice. You might want the test for peace of mind.
2. The blood test for a very young child will involve either a capillary test (a heel- or finger-stick), or a venous test (taken from a vein in the arm). Ask which test your child will go through so that you will know what to expect.
3. Depending on the amount of lead found in the blood, there may be further tests and treatment. Normally, the blood contains no lead. (Amounts above 9 micrograms per deciliter, or even less in some circumstances, will call for treatment. Lead poisoning leads to developmental deficits affecting intellect, hearing and growth and can be the cause of learning disorders in children.)
READ MORE LEGAL NEWSPrepare your child (and yourself) to go through the testing. There is a good article on the website of well-known pediatrician [Dr. Alan Greene] entitled "Helping a Child Handle Blood Draws". The article contains many tips on helping your child through the encounter with the needle, such as:
• talking and listening to your child about his or her feelings,
• not telling the child to grow up and quit whining (my paraphrase),
• practicing with Teddy beforehand (and finding out about Teddy's feelings) and
• making a game of it at the clinic, by holding up your finger as a pretend candle, and having your child blow it out at the first pin-prick.
4. The blood test results should be available in about a week.
If you do go for the test, keep track of all your expenses. Depending on the outcome of the class action, Mattel may be made to pony up. For detailed information on Mattel's recalled toys, go to the [company website].