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Lead poisoning is a significant problem for refugee children resettled in the United States. Research shows that many refugee children with elevated blood lead levels are poisoned after they are resettled in the U.S. Some reasons may be that refugees tend to live in older homes with lead hazards, and they may not be aware of the dangers of lead. In addition, refugees often have a compromised nutritional status, which can lead to a greater risk of lead poisoning. Refugees may also continue to use traditional medicines and cultural practices from their country of origin which contain lead.
A toolkit for working with refugees, as well as information on testing guidelines for refugee children is available here.
The risk of exposure to lead is much higher in many countries from which children are adopted than it is in the United States. Sources of lead differ from country to country, but can include ceramic or metal dishes for cooking or eating, contamination from nearby mining and smelting, cottage industries, and traditional medicines. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that children who were adopted from another country be screened for lead poisoning upon their arrival in the United States, as well as at 12 and 24 months of age. More information on protecting internationally adopted children is available here