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Another Little Number

Two weeks ago I took our daughter in for a second opinion screening to check her blood lead level. I can’t believe it took two weeks to get the results back, but I just got them: BLLs > 14 µg/dL. That’s one microgram higher than her initial screening. That is not what we wanted to see.

So what does that tell us? Firstly, that this is real and not a false positive from environmental contamination of the sample. Secondly, during the three weeks between the two screenings her blood lead level did not decrease and seems to have increased. (I’m using tentative language only because I don’t know the margin of error for this test.) I suppose in retrospect that’s not terribly surprising. I only did my little remediation project on our doorframe the day before her second screening. I only identified our bathtub as a potential threat a few says before that. And so on. In other words, there wasn’t sufficient time between addressing potential threats and this re-screen to expect a diminished blood lead level.

Still, it’s depressing.

I feel like we are fumbling in the dark. We still don’t know for a fact how lead has been getting into her system. We’ve identified a number of suspects, but we don’t know for sure. And we may never know for sure.

We will, of course, schedule a more accurate venous blood test in a couple months. Hopefully those results will be more encouraging. In the meantime we are trying our best to minimize her exposure to lead and feeding her a diet with lots of calcium and iron and vitamin C. That’s supposed minimize lead getting stored in the bones.

Published inEcologyFamily


  1. pam pam

    george got a bit concerned after reading your posts about this, so we’re getting the boys tested soon. our ped wrote out an order for a Venous Lead Screen at Children’s, so we’ll be doing that soon.

    thanks for the heads up…

  2. David David

    I’m sorry the results weren’t what you were hoping for.

    Unless otherwise stated, the margin of error should be assumed to +/- 1 in the last significant digit. That is, 1 microgram/deciliter. If that’s the case, I’d consider the two readings essentially the same, rather than the second one’s being higher than the first. I hope that offers you some small comfort.

  3. Sherry Sherry

    Just read an article in the Int’l Herald Tribune (24/9/09) about 6 children in Maine who had elevated blood counts caused by their baby car seats and carriers. However, their parents had previously worked in unsafe conditions removing lead paint from old houses. The good news was that after the seats and carriers were replaced, and the car interiors wet-cleaned, all the childrens’ counts returned to normal. We are all praying and sending good vibes that Persephone’s will as well.

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