In this section
This guideline was written as part of information on Arsenic contamination of traditional Burmese medicines
Lead is a heavy metal. Routes of exposure to lead include contaminated air, water, soil and food.4 Hand-to-mouth activities in young children increase their risk of lead exposure. Well described sources include lead-based paint from imported toys and in older houses.6 Toxicity has also been linked to lead-contaminated traditonal remedies2, imported candies/condiments, and fashion accessories.6
Elevated blood lead concentrations have been reported in up to 7 - 13% of African5, 6 South Asian7, 8 and Burmese2, 9 refugee children, especially in those aged <6 years; although rarely to a concentration requiring chelation therapy. Blood lead screening has been recommended for all refugee children (aged 6 months - 16 years) arriving in the United States from 2011.10 Blood lead screening is not part of routine post-arrival tests in Australian refugee health guidelines, but should be considered in any child with developmental delay, pica, or where there is a history suggesting exposure, including through traditional medicines.
Clinical features vary depending on level of exposure and age of the child; they may be non-specific.
Immigrant health resources. Authors: Dr Anthea Rhodes and Dr Georgie Paxton. Initial April 2012. Last review April 2020. Contact: email@example.com