The FDA recently reported an unsuspecting new cause of lead poisoning. A dietary supplement has caused two adult deaths in the Chicago area. Two children in the area also experienced elevated lead levels in their bodies. They have been assumed to have ingested the supplement.
DHZC-2, a supplement released by Ton Shen Health — which specializes in Chinese Herbal Medicine — is said to help regulate blood circulation, but a company representative was unable to explain exactly what the supplement does, as the answer is “too complicated.”
The level of concern for lead exposure in children, set by the Center for Disease Control, is 10 micrograms per deciliter of blood. The FDA says that DHZC-2 contains 56 times that amount.
Supplements are not as well regulated by the FDA as medications, and are treated more like specialty food products. The companies that issue dietary supplements are responsible for their own product testing and are required to meet FDA standards before the product is sent to the shelves.
However, little testing and product vetting is done on these supplements beforehand, so oftentimes people must become sick before the product is recalled and the FDA takes action. The producers of these products are not subject to EPA lead safe certification.
Lead exposure, typically acquired by contact with lead paint in older homes and buildings, dust that contains lead particles, or plastic toys, is extremely dangerous to both adults and children. Children are more susceptible to lead poisoning while they are young, in part because of their developing bodies and in part because they are more likely to put toys and other foreign objects in their mouths. Since they are still growing, high doses of lead can cause significant developmental problems, including learning disabilities, lowered IQ, behavioral issues and more.
In the short term, lead poisoning can cause abdominal pain, mood swings, lethargy, irritability, and vomiting in both adults and children.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission compiles a list of all toys and products that have dangerous levels of lead in them.
While ZOTA Pro cannot help regulate lead safety in other industries, it can provide contractors and remodelers with lead renovator certification training and EPA lead safe certification courses. Lead abatement training is required of all RRP workers. As an employer, ensure that all of your new employees complete training, and consider EPA lead certification refresher courses for your existing employees as well.