A study by Quest Diagnostics recently showed that 15 percent of children tested in Poughkeepsie had lead levels between 5 and 10, and 5 percent had levels exceeding that. That is more than five times the national average. According to Allen J. Dozor, MD, chief of Pediatric Pulmonology, Allergy, and Sleep Medicine at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital, a member of the Westchester Medical Center Health Network, parents should be concerned.
“There is no such thing as an acceptable lead level. We didn’t know it was in the system or for how long,” he says. “Young children are unequivocally in the most danger. Their brains are not mature and much of the damage could have long-term effects.”
Dozor strongly recommends that children between one and two years of age should be checked regularly. “Symptoms to look out for in children are irritability, fussiness, insomnia, behavioral issues, and depression. Kids should be tested, and parents should look for sources in the home, especially if it was built after the 1960s. You can speak with your doctor, a lead specialist, or your child’s pediatrician. There are many resources out there that can help.”