Nicholas Newman, DO, MS.

Nicholas Newman, DO, MS

The disposal and recycling of electronic devices has increased exposure to lead and other toxicants, says Nicholas Newman, DO, MS, and pediatricians should talk with parents about potential hazards.

In the July 17, 2015, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, Newman reported findings on two children, ages 1 and 2, whose father worked at an “e-scrap” recycling company. His job required crushing old leaded cathode ray tubes from televisions and computer monitors. His children had dangerously elevated blood lead levels. Within three months after the father left the job, the children’s lead levels decreased.

“This is an opportunity to avoid take-home exposures of lead, other metals, and toxicants that may be present at work,” says Newman, who directs the Environmental Health and Lead Clinic at Cincinnati Children’s. “Preventing is key because decontaminating homes and vehicles isn’t always effective. Normal house cleaning and laundry methods are inadequate, and decontamination can lead to hazardous exposures among workers doing the cleaning.”

Newman’s report outlines steps that parents can take if their jobs put them at risk. The national Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit network provides a list of potentially risky occupations.