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Every member of a NYC family of five was found to have lead poisoning due to Mexican ceramics


NYC Family Discovers Their Mexican Ceramic Dishes Contain Dangerous Levels of LEAD After Youngest Child Had High Levels of Dangerous Chemicals in Their Blood

  • After a three-year-old child in an NYC family of five had high levels of lead in his blood, the CDC launched an investigation
  • They found that the child’s two older siblings — and later their parents — all also had dangerous lead levels
  • Researchers found that the dishes the family used and bought in Mexico were responsible
  • After the family replaced the plates, their lead levels dropped rapidly in just about a year

A family of five in New York City was found to suffer from lead poisoning, and their dishes may have been the cause, a study by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention found.

The case was opened after a three-year-old child was found to have dangerously high levels of lead in their blood, leading to further investigations which revealed that all five members suffered from elevated levels of lead in their blood.

Although the family did not fully cooperate with a CDC investigation into the matter, the agency believes the ceramic dishes they bought in Mexico were the cause.

The agency warns that many items purchased abroad may not meet U.S. standards for lead protection, and could leave people vulnerable to lead poisoning.

After first discovering that a three-year-old family member was suffering from elevated blood lead levels, CDC researchers tested the rest of the family and found that they all had dangerously high levels of lead exposure. After replacing ceramic dishes believed to be the cause, family levels returned to normal

In 2017, routine screening revealed the three-year-old had a blood lead level of seven micrograms per deciliter (ug/dl), which was more than the tolerable CDC level of five µg/dl, but not the 10 µg/dl needed to launch. a house search.

A year later, in 2018, after the child’s family received information about avoiding lead exposure in the home, the three-year-old was retested and the blood lead level was found to be five µg/dl.

A new screening was performed in 2020, on the advice of a general practitioner. This time, the family’s two adult children were also given blood tests to look for lead.

They found that the three-year-old’s blood lead level was still 5 µg/dl, but the two adult siblings had 17 and 53 µg/dl – well above acceptable limits.

This prompted the parents to be screened as well, and the mother and father were found to have 17 and 53 µg/dl, respectively – well beyond acceptable levels.

A follow-up to the risk assessment by CDC researchers found that the family used ceramic dishes purchased in Mexico for cooking, storage, and brewing coffee.

While the family refused to let investigators examine their home, the CDC team was able to scan their signs for lead and detect 15.7 milligrams per centimeter — a dangerously high level.

“Traditional ceramics from around the world have been found to contain lead at levels thousands of times higher than legal limits in the United States,” researchers wrote.

“The lead used for aesthetic and other purposes on the glaze or paint of the ceramics can transfer to food or beverages prepared, served or stored in these products, putting users at risk of exposure to lead.”

Ceramic dishes can often contain dangerous amounts of lead

Ceramic dishes can often contain dangerous amounts of lead

The agency warns that ceramic dishes bought in Ecuador, Mexico, Morocco, Turkey and Uzbekistan

Although lead content is heavily regulated in the US, it is likely that some dishes sold in the country still use dangerous amounts of lead.

The family also reported using foreign spices in the cooking that could be responsible, though they declined to provide a sample to CDC researchers. The spouse of the family also works in construction, another potential risk factor for lead exposure.

After the plates were replaced, the family was screened for lead exposure every few months.

Two months after replacement, the family’s blood lead level had fallen to two to 21 µg/dl. Just over a year later it dropped to one to six µg/dl, almost perfectly safe levels, showing that potential damage is not irreversible.

Lead poisoning can slowly destroy a person’s nervous system, leading to cognitive and memory problems — and can even eventually lead to early death if not managed.


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