A nine-month-old baby in Connecticut had dangerously high levels of lead in her blood after chewing on a homeopathic “healing bracelet” used to ease teething pain, according to a report published Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The baby’s condition came to light last September during a routine health screening. Healthcare workers found that the baby was anemic and had a blood lead level of 41 micrograms per deciliter (μg/dL). While no level of lead is known to be safe, the CDC recommends health interventions when a child’s blood lead level reaches 5 μg/dL.
Local public health authorities worked to track down the source of the lead. They were first drawn to peeling lead-based paint on two windows in the house in which the infant lived. Dust and peelings from deteriorating lead-based paint in older homes are among the most common sources of lead exposure in children in addition to contaminated soils. But the authorities ruled it out after the baby’s three siblings, who also lived in the house, were found to have blood lead levels less than 3 μg/dL. And, they noted, the young infant had no access to the windows.