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    Post: Lead Poisoning

    Posted by Michael D. Corbett, Ph.D. on 3/25/09

    Several months ago 'Scott' posted the topic 'lead paint
    case assessment', and made an analogy to 'the next
    asbestos'. I feel obliged to offer some advice concerning
    plaintiff claims of neurotoxic effects arising from lead.
    I have recently served as an expert witness on two
    lead "poisoning" cases - one for a plaintiff, the other
    for the defense. The former was a true case of lead
    poisoning as evidenced by a 'blood-lead level' (BLL) of
    greater than 60 mcg/dL, appearance of at least one acute
    symptom of poisoning, and the actual detection of a lead-
    based paint chip in the child's GI tract. The other
    involved a child whose BLL was a transient 12 mcg/dL,
    which is only a slightly elevated BLL (above the CDC level
    of 10 mcg/dL) - and not at all sufficient evidence of lead
    poisoning. The plaintiff's claims of developmental delays
    and neurocognitive deficits as the result of such a minor
    elevation of BLL were baseless, in spite of the existence
    of published epidemiological evidence (albeit very
    controversial) suggesting that lead is 'unsafe at any
    level'. There exist other much more important causes of
    neurocognitive deficits than elevated BLL; and to
    establish that lead was a significant cause or contributor
    to such will be very difficult, unless the BLL is markedly
    elevated (> 40 mcg/dL).

    Consulting Toxicologist

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