The Effects of Lead Contamination on Fetal Brain Development

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Lead contamination is not a phenomenon of the past and lead poisoning in newborns and young children still prevails. Old buildings are filled with outdated plumbing and leaded paint, parents work in lead related occupations and cultural traditions often use lead tainted home remedies.


The Maternal Child nurse can aid the childbearing family with physical assessments, teaching self care and nutrition, environmental assessments, family teaching and fetal assessment. The guidance offered during the pregnancy and post partum newborn period can serve to prevent unnecessary exposure and absorption of lead. Parents can be made aware of the risks of lead exposure and the importance of early intervention and treatment for the child. While lead products are still being produced, many older buildings have outdated plumbing and ethnic products may contain lead, the Maternal Child nurse can offer services and support to decrease the numbers of poor children with lead poisoning. Monitoring of the home environment, education and case management can ensure that fewer babies are born with impaired brain functions leading to a life time of physical and behavior problems.

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