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  QUESTION: Lead poisoned son, 30 Oct 2002, California USA

I am the mother of a lead poisoned son, he was lead poisoned at 12 months of age, would crawl to the dirt and eat it, and chew toys aggressively (pica) initially. would not let him go outside anymore, so then he started eating the walls literally, I have much of this behavior on video tape. also bizarre behavioral problems. he is now 14 years old. he is in special ed, in home hospital, attention deficit disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, learning deficit disorder, vomited all his life from smells of food, or nervousness, or excited. he would not wear a shirt for years, appx. until 5 years of age. he would vomit if I put a shirt on him up until 5 years of age. also no one knows who I am. I am the person who found out (diagnosed my own son) through a medical dictionary, because I was desperate , I felt my baby was going to die. so I researched, medical dictionary looked up vomiting, it said if your child vomits more than 5 times a day see lead poisoning. I even argued with the doctors about my son illness for approx. a year, then I threatened them and called S.B. County health department, and said if no one is listening to me I think my baby is going to die, and the doctors aren't listening to me, he was jerking at night in his sleep (doctor said it was baby nightmares) he was having convulsions, I told the doctor he would vomit several times a day with no particular pattern, she said he was doing it for attention. anyway I told the County health dept. if my baby dies I'm going to kill the doctor for not listening and then I will kill myself. that basically made the County intervene, and sure enough, they gave a blood test, he was 58 lead level 60 causes mental retardation, paralysis and death. The county said it's one in a million, you are right your child had lead poisoning, he needs to be hospitalized right away . he was the first child here in California to start chelation. the medication had to be shipped out here to California. anyways, I called California Disease Control he told them of the silent epidemic and that if the doctor's didn't know my son had lead poisoning, how many other children are going undetected. how many adults are walking around retarded and not knowing how that happened, or children dying, calling it sids., or behavioral problems, irritability, something had to be done immediately to save other children's lives. I am the one who made the start of mandatory lead poisoning blood tests on children. but nobody knows who I am. I am proud that I started the mandatory lead screening on children and also of course saved my sons life. I even wanted to start a lead poisoning support group, but neither one of us really recovered from all this mess. we were forced to move to a housing authority, which opened up a new can of worms. a different life style, protecting my son constantly from other children teasing him, calling him a retard, etc we have been through hell, all the way fighting the doctor's, the teachers, other children and their parent's, to protect my son. the nightmare never ended. I don't know if anyone will ever read this, but if there is anything you want to know from me, I just got a computer, and I had to type my feelings down to someone who even cares. I am poor now, I don't work anymore because I have my son to take care of.

P.S. We were in the newspaper on front page nationwide , mom yoked to lead poisoned son. he was also like a leech locked on to me so he wouldn't endanger himself.

ANSWER: 30 Oct 2002

Dear Patrice,

thank you for sharing your unfortunate story.

We are not able to help you from Australia, but we hope any publicity you can generate will serve to make the wider community aware of the insidious nature of lead in our environment and its effects especially on childhood development.

ANDREW HOBDAY
(Volunteer at Global Lead Advice and Support Service Inc.) I have also been lead poisoned.

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