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The Pediatric Forum
May 2003

More Attention to Children's Real Health Risks

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2003;157(5):487. doi:10.1001/archpedi.157.5.487-a

Dr Cecilia Davoli's1 editorial comment on the article by Myers et al2 makes several valid points, but misses other important issues.

Dr Davoli seems more concerned with the hypothetical risks of "pesticides, radon, mercury, and household chemicals" than with the real, significant dangers of delayed immunizations and deferred medical care delineated in the study by Myers et al. Elevated blood lead levels are a biomarker of inadequate medical care, a problem that needs to be addressed. Certainly, poisoning with household chemicals via ingestion is also a real problem. However, elevating the mere presence of such substances, as well as the trace exposure levels of pesticides and mercury in the home, to a risk level similar to that of lack of medical care and smoke detectors and exposure to environmental tobacco smoke is a distraction from more serious issues. This in turn leads to diversion of scarce health care resources.

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