Sir.—Discussion of the magnitude and public health importance of low exposure to lead among American children continues to focus on lead-based paint as the major source of potential ingestion.1,2 Other sources, often related to behavioral rather than environmental factors, have been presumed unusual. Included are childhood oral exploration involving lead-containing objects, such as bullets and fishing sinkers, or parental use of lead-bearing unglazed pottery, cosmetics, or Mexican folk medicines.
A concern among public health practitioners and pediatricians has been the lack of differentiation in policy recommendations to allow for geographic and demographic (cultural) variation in magnitude and source of lead poisoning.3
Alternative Lead Exposures.
—One recent study tested more than 3000 children living in low-socioeconomic areas in a large jurisdiction in southern California and demonstrated that the majority of individuals with high levels of blood lead were causally related to parental use of lead-bearing unglazed pottery and
GELLERT GA, MEYERS HB, YEUNG A. Risk of Pediatric Lead Poisoning From Nonenvironmental Exposures: Gun Ownership. Am J Dis Child. 1993;147(7):720-722. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1993.02160310022010