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QUESTION: What is recommended once you know you have lead water pipes? 15 Nov 2007 England, UK

 I have sent this email to Anna Priest, whose article you published re homeopathic treatment of lead poisoning, but unfortunately the email address you gave is out of date. Does anyone know her address to either give me or to forward this to? Or maybe you will find this of interest in any case.

Many thanks,

Thinley Chodron

Dear Anna,

I have recently started a raw food diet and am taking Nature's Living Superfood. I was checking out other supplements when I found your endorsement of AFA Live on the E3 website and read that you are interested in its effects for heavy metal removal.

Typing your name into my search engine, I also note that you are interested in lead poisoning (you were referring in the article to homeopathic treatment).

By strange coincidence, I have recently discovered that our rented house in the uk has lead water pipes. I have been living here for 8 years with my son who is now 16 yrs old. Obviously I am worried about poisoning. He has been experiencing unexplained exhaustion for some time and his doctor has found no cause.

We have not yet been tested and are awaiting a visit from environmental health to assess the house.

Because of this rather unexpected link, I am driven to write to you.

Do you think that AFA Live will help with lead poisoning?

Otherwise, homeopathic treatment may be worth pursuing. I read that chelation treatment has negative side effects and so would rather not take a medical route except for initial tests.

I hope you can advise me. Love and light, Thinley

Elizabeth O'Brien

ANSWER: 15 Nov 2007

Dear Thinley,

I am copying this email to Anna Priest and I hope Anna will be able to respond to you directly (with a copy to me for web-publication in our Q&A section), with her answers to your queries.

It is quite unorthodox, dare I say unprofessional, for a doctor NOT to test your blood lead levels if you have told him/her that you have lead water pipes. A proper home lead assessment costs hundreds of pounds and is usually therefore done in RESPONSE to an elevated blood lead level in one or more of the residents. If the doctor doesn't test for lead in the blood, how will the environmental health staff justify that expenditure?

If the environmental health staff only intend to test for lead in the drinking water, then it is not a full home lead assessment. Presumably a home old enough to have lead pipes will also have lead paint and thus the usual soil and dust contamination that arises when lead paint flakes off or is dry-sanded or scraped prior to repainting.

Knowing how high the blood lead levels are, tells everyone how high to jump to locate the sources of the lead (it is rare to have only one source of lead) and to spend money on removing the sources or moving yourselves out.

After the critical first step of identification and removal of lead sources, all other interventions are similarly dictated by how high the blood lead levels are. If anyone's blood lead level is above 3.4 micromoles per litre (mol/L) (which is equivalent to 70 micrograms per decilitre (g/dL) then you would be unwise to refuse chelation treatment. If a child's blood lead level is above 2.2  mol/L (45  g/dL), similarly, it would be folly to refuse chelation treatment. Some doctors believe in the usefulness of chelation treatment at MUCH lower levels than this so we make the recommendation that you find a doctor you trust and follow their suggested interventions.

At any blood lead level above zero, but especially if the blood lead level is above 0.1  mol/L (2  g/dL), we also recommend nutritional intervention. I will therefore also email you our:

  • Info Pack 23 - Nutrition to fight lead poisoning; and
  • Info Pack 56 - Dangers of a blood lead level above 2  g/dL

I would be very interested to hear back from you once you have your blood lead results.

Yours Sincerely
Elizabeth O'Brien,

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