In the past months there have been many different reports of products that affect us and our children, like fidget spinners, jelly shoes and lead paint. If a house was built before 1978, then that house most likely has lead. Although when buying or renting you will get written disclosures, this does not tell you exactly what has been done to that house to prevent the lead from hurting you.
It used to be thought that if children did not go near walls or eat chips from window sills, that was sufficient. However, reports from the State of New Jersey and the Federal government beg to differ. In fact, New Jersey has an Annual Childhood Lead Report on the state website, and in 2016 the state Board of Education adopted regulations to test for lead in school water systems.
Lead, mercury and other heavy metals that are caustic to our bodies and brains are very detectable in water, walls, old windows and doors. Just because we paint the area it does not mean that the lead is remediated. Only a special encapsulator painted on before painting creates a barrier between the lead paint and the environment. There are decontamination sprays and wipes too to continuously clean the window sills of the lead dust that accumulates.
- How does lead and mercury affect my family?
Lead paint can create lead dust that circulates in the air of your home simply by opening and closing windows and doors. Low levels of lead paint can cause mental retardation and interfere with the growth of children (and unborn babies). Some cases of ADHD and autism are attributed to lead pain. For adults, it may cause high blood pressure, liver, pancreas and kidney problems, as well as strokes, alzheimer’s and parkinson’s diseases. In addition, lead lowers your IQ, creates behavioral problems and leaks into your bones and fatty tissue. Mercury, on the other hand, can cause mood swings, nervousness, irritability, emotional issues, insomnia, headaches, muscle twitching, tremors, weakness, exhaustion, memory problems, decreased cognitive functions, loss of coordination and speech impediments.
- Who can test my home for lead and mercury?
Your town’s water company will come in to inspect your home for lead pipes and provide you with water collection kits to test for lead and mercury (these are two different tests) for a nominal fee. In addition, the Office of Health Management in New Jersey1 will lend out their RMD LPA-1 XRF Lead Paint Spectrum Analyzer to the local health departments upon request to test your house or apartment for lead. A simple 3M lead test can verify that lead leaches out of walls, doors and window sills.
- What products contain lead?
Many toys, equipment and even cosmetics that come from out of the country contain lead. In fact, it was not until 2013 that the U.S. banned faucets with lead! The 2014 Safe Drinking Water Act2 through the U.S. E.P.A, indicates that any and all equipment bought must bear the NSF 372 certificate, inclusive of any water filters you purchase for lead and mercury removal from water.
If you or a family member who lives in, rents or owns a house made before 1978 has had any of the issues described above, please contact a healthcare professional that may detect these metals in your urine. The specialized tests are usually done by an integrative medical doctor. These tests will provide the results of not just the unwanted metals in your urine that are not normally even detected by blood tests, but will also provide much information on what is going on with the functioning of your body, gut and what is lacking in your body, so that you may take corrective action to address these health issues immediately for the betterment of your health and the health of your family.
By Dr. Darsi Beauchamp
Dr. Beauchamp is a psychotherapist with a master’s in family therapy and is a LAC who uses CBT/DBT, biofeedback, neurofeedback and hypnotherapy for children and adults in her practice in Morristown.3 She works with Neuro-Psychologist Dr. Barbara Couvadelli, who performs neuro-psych testing. For more information, you can contact Dr. Beauchamp at 973-400-9794. Insurance is accepted.
1 NJSA 26:3-85
2 International Code Council and PMG Activities and Government Relations, 2014.
3 Dr. Beauchamp’s doctorate is in Administration.