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QUESTION: Is a cot of unknown age, with flaking paint, a lead risk for 4 yr old? 06/02/09   New South Wales, Australia

Hi just got a concern here and need your help.

My son is 4 now. Some of the paint of his cot which he still sleeps in is flaked off, and the wood just show out. And also he likes to push his car along the handrail of his cot, which causes scratches of the paint. After reading the information from this website, I'm so worries about this.

Is there any risk of lead exposure, or does he need blood lead test? and where can we get the test done? do appreciate your response.

ANSWER: February 6 2009

Hi Jennifer,

a child can be lead poisoned by paint from a cot if the following happens:

- the child eats the paint

- and the paint contains lead (more is obviously worse)

You have not reported that your child has eaten any of the cot paint (and since you told me on the phone that your house was built in 1998 and is therefore very unlikely to contain lead paint) so the best test to do is a laboratory analysis of the cot paint for lead. If the result is over 0.06% then you would ask your GP for a blood lead test if you thought that your child had actually ingested any of the lead paint. If you think your child has not ingested any of the cot paint then it is not worth worrying about, given the very likely low levels of lead in your child's home environment. You can always ask for a blood lead test to be done whenever your child is having blood taken for any other reason, if you want to be sure that you are providing a lead-safe environment. From the sounds of it, you don't have a child with pica (the tendency to eat non-food items) and you likely don't have much lead in your house. You should go out and celebrate your good fortune!!

All the best

Yours Sincerely

Elizabeth O'Brien

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