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  QUESTION: Can a baby ingest lead by sucking on metal keys? 09 Sep 2005, Canada

I have a 7 month old baby. She has been sucking on my keys [house keys, car keys, keychain, etc ] for about a week, I no longer allow this behaviour. I would like to know if keys contain lead and if so should I have her tested for lead poisoning? Could this have affected her health?

ANSWER: 09 Sep 2005

Dear Shannon,

you are very wise to have stopped the baby sucking on keys and I wish all the places that sold keys had big signs up to say that there can be lead in brass keys and children should not be allowed to suck on them. Better still - they could not add the lead to the brass in the first place! I've not heard of lead being a component of any other kind of keys. When a baby starts to crawl and if you live in an old house, that is the best time to do a blood lead test on the baby but if the baby is not crawling yet and you want to know specifically what kind of lead level they have in their blood now, then the best way is to have a blood lead test.

Until you know the blood lead level, it is impossible to know what the possible effects on the baby are.

I hope this helps. Please write back if you want to discuss the blood lead result when you have it.

Yours Sincerely
Elizabeth O'Brien


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