Lead in Consumer Products Work Group Charge
Lead-based paint remains the most common source of elevated lead exposure for young children in the United States. However, one report determined that 34% of children aged <6 years with lead poisoning in Los Angeles County had been exposed to items containing lead that had been brought into the home. 1 These items might include candy, folk and traditional medications, ceramic dinnerware, children’s jewelry, clothing ornaments, lead in children’s toys, key chains and other metallic or painted objects. Other consumer products, including vinyl, plastic, and rubber products, as well as metallic products fabricated from lead or lead containing alloys, may expose families to lead. Exposures to some of these items can result in life-threatening BLLs of >100 µg/dL. 2 In 2004, a child in Oregon had a BLL of 123 µg/dL after ingesting a necklace with high lead content. 3 The same year, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recalled 150 million pieces of imported metallic toy jewelry sold in vending machines. * Some lead-contaminated consumer products designed for or accessible to children are manufactured in countries with limited government regulation of lead hazards. 4 Although the discovery of a lead hazard in an imported consumer product will generally constitute a “sentinel event” that signals a risk to children outside the United States, domestic lead poisoning prevention programs often lack information on how to best inform international colleagues and governments of such hazards.
Although further progress is needed, the United States has achieved success in reducing the incidence of childhood and adult lead poisoning through multi-faceted public health research and surveillance, and many years of lead poisoning prevention programs established at federal, state, and local levels. As expressed in a recent statement, 5 the U.S. CDC believes that progress in the worldwide elimination of lead health hazards can be enhanced by the involvement of US scientists and public health specialists in scholarly exchanges with the public health communities of major trading partners, especially those with developing economies. The recent growth of lead prevention efforts in countries such as China has created an important opportunity for collaboration.
To advance the public health goal of reducing the contribution of consumer products to childhood lead exposure, the Lead in Consumer Products Work Group is charged with the following objectives:
Building upon the formal liaisons that now exist between the CDC Advisory Committee on Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention and other federal agencies such as the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the Food and Drug Administration, and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, the Work Group will recommend and foster collaborative efforts to enhance awareness of the public health community and the public at large of methods to identify, reduce, and prevent childhood lead exposure from consumer products. These collaborative efforts might include, but not be limited to, development of web-based documents and educational resources, participation in educational symposia and conferences, and consideration of domestic and international policy recommendations. Particular attention might be devoted to the development of a webpage on the ACCLPP website that highlights the hazards posed by lead in consumer products, and educates public and private sector lead poisoning prevention programs at the local and state level on steps that may be taken to facilitate international awareness and cooperation on the elimination of lead hazards.
Working with parties in the public and private sector, the Work Group should pursue efforts that support the convening of an international conference, possibly in China, that addresses advances in the recognition, management, and prevention of lead poisoning in children and adults. Featuring invited contributions by health professionals, environmental scientists, public health officials, industrial hygienists, industry representatives and other interested parties, the conference may have the following specific aims:
To foster an international consensus on the health risks posed by low and moderate levels of lead exposure, especially as demonstrated by recent epidemiological and clinical research; and
To identify and promote public health strategies to reduce lead poisoning in children and adults, including health surveillance in communities and workplaces, educational outreach, pediatric case management, improved public health laboratory infrastructure,
To identify innovative approaches that can reduce lead exposure through voluntary certification programs and the reduction of nonessential uses of lead.
1 Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program. Census/surveillance data. Los Angeles, CA: Los Angeles Department of Health Services; Maternal, Child & Adolescent Health, Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program; 2006. Available at http://lapublichealth.org/lead/reports/leaddata.htm [PDF - 29 KB].
2 CDC. Preventing lead poisoning in young children. Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and Human Services, CDC; 2005. Available at http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/publications/prevleadpoisoning.pdf. [PDF - 2.6 MB]
3 CDC. Lead poisoning from ingestion of a toy necklace---Oregon, 2003. MMWR 2004;53:509--11.
4 International Programme on Chemical Safety. Environmental health criteria 165: inorganic lead. Geneva, Switzerland: United Nations Environment Programme, International Labour Organisation, World Health Organization; 1995. Available at http://www.inchem.org/documents/ehc/ehc/ehc165.htm.
* Available at http://www.cpsc.gov/CPSCPUB/PREREL/prhtml04/04174.html.