Sometimes When the Pediatrician says ‘Above Average’ it’s not a good thing

So, in the midst of all last weeks chaos leading up to the show I got a call from the Pediatrician. I was actually on my way to pick up some of our artist friends at the airport when I got the call. I pulled over to talk with her, and my heart instantly sank when she started with she said “So we got the results from your daughters bloodwork….” Seriously my mind started racing with all the bad things that could follow. She finished the sentace with …”Her lead levels are above average” It took me a second to respond so she went on to say they weren;t dangerously high but they were definitely above average. She said Ivy’s level is a 9, and when a child has a level of 10 or higher she has to report it to the city so they can come and inspect the child’s home. She reccomended we do this anyway so we could find out where in our home the lead exposure is coming from.

I’m pretty sure I know though. Our apartment building is over 100 years old. That’s a lot of layer of paint. While most of the rooms have been rennovated, out hallway still has some shitty old peeling paint. Our hallway also has most of our colset space, so there’s about 5 doors constantly being opened and closed, grinding up layers of paint making fine dust which is poisoning my child. She recommended wet mopping severl times a week. She went through all the other possible causes as well: water can contain lead from old pipes (I know this is not the case because my upstairs neighbor recently had our water tested and the levels came back low) and also other contruction sites in the city can be heavy with lead dust which can be tracked in on your shoes. But I’m pretty sure when the inspectors come they will test the entire apartment and fine it is in fact the hallway. They will advise us on the best was to remedy the situation but I’m pretty sure it will involve hiring someone to properly paint the hallway. But I don;t care, whatever it takes. And in the meantime I will be mopping like a maniac.

When I was basically almost in tears asking questions during my conversation with the pediatrician, she assured me that once we isolate the cause and fix it, Ivy’s lead levels will start to go down. She also said the number she is at is in no way posing a health risk, and while it could cause subtle neurological problems, she assured me, having just seen Ivy that everything is fine with her development. She said to be sure she gets planty of Iron and calcium (and assured me from her bloodwork she is) and that they would have to test her again in 3 months.

Still it totally upset me. I try so hard to creat this perfect safe world for her and sometimes go over the top with organic chemical free baby stuff and here it is from our home a horrible heavy toxin. I guess it’s not really our fault, and I’m trying to let go of the guilt because really, most NYC buildings at one time or another contained lead paint. Unless they’re those souless new condos they are building up and down 4th Avenue in Park Slope. I just really want to make it all better for her, and hope the inspectors can easily pinpoint the cause and we can easily fix it. In the meantime I’m getting very friendly with my mop.

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3 Responses to Sometimes When the Pediatrician says ‘Above Average’ it’s not a good thing

  1. Amy says:

    I’m so sorry you’re going through this. We live in an older (50s) house and I worry about lead all the time. My thoughts are with you and I’m sure you will get it all worked out.

  2. Suzanne says:

    I was SHOCKED when Baby Evan’s lead levels were ok – we live in a 100 year old house that has peeling paint on every window, but apparently they’ve been painted over so many times the lead stuff is underneath. Try not to freak out too much. The reason they test so early is because it takes long term lead exposure to cause neurological problems. Just get someone to fix it when you can and keep giving Ivy all the loves and care I know you already do.

  3. Karen says:

    I totally understand you. I feed Lu healthy fresh and she breathes the filthy city air! You are doing a fantastic job!

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