Wednesday, November 21, 2007
URGENT - LEAD ALERT
IF YOU HAVE PURCHASED OR RECEIVED A WEIGHTED OR LEAD BLANKET FOR YOUR CHILD YOU MUST READ THIS
Parent Lois Smith, whose daughter was poisoned previously by an alleged “therapy” vest – which turned out to be a lead dental vest treated with antimony – has given us the following information of great concern.
On October 18, Lois was talking to a doctor at a hospital in Chicago about flame retardant and applications to medical devices. She followed up with calls to dental vest distributors to ask about flame retardant being used on a vest with foam backing. This led to Lois being led to the only company anyone knew of that made dental shielding vests with a foam backing (the type of vest that poisoned her daughter) Shielding International of Madras, Oregon. The woman who answered the phone asked why Lois wanted this information. Lois told her that she had a 5-year old daughter who had been diagnosed as autistic and, before Lois could continue, the woman said, “Oh, you have an autistic, then you want a leaded blanket.” Lois replied, “No, ma’am, I do not want a leaded blanket. You actually sell autistic children leaded blankets?” To which the woman replied, “Yep, for that weighted therapy.” Lois asked her if she was concerned about poisoning them. The woman said, “No,” that autistics do not eat them. Lois explained that it was her understanding that 67% of autistic children suffer from PICA and that they would indeed eat these and that her daughter had been poisoned by eating the foam on the backing of a vest. The woman replied, “You do not want to get the foam when you order this, you want to get a material covering.” Lois again said that she did not want to order a lead blanket; she just wanted the information on the foam component of the vests. The woman gave her the number of the foam supplier.
Lois was sickened by the possibility that children were being poisoned by these blankets, and the next day her 17-year old son offered his birthday money to help buy one of the lead blankets, which cost hundreds of dollars. Lois called back the company and told the woman she had changed her mind. The woman said, “Oh, that’s great, honey, what color would you like it in?” After the discussion about color Lois asked about ordering a lap pad, and then Lois explained there were times when she felt that more weight was needed, so she’d like to order an extra long so that she could fold the item in half and get double the weight. Lois was stunned when the woman said this was a great idea, due to the fact that the first rule of lead shielding is that you CANNOT fold it. Lois was directed to the representative for her state to finalize the order. Lois called them. They asked her what color she wanted. Lois gave them the dimensions and said she intended to fold it. The order was placed for a 5-year old little autistic girl to receive a leaded blanket with a hot pink material covering.
The private company that had previously identified the vest in Lois’s home that had poisoned her daughter tested the outside of the package containing the lead blanket with an XRF (X-ray fluorescence) machine. The inspector was astonished at how high the readings came back and stated that there was an extremely high level of lead in whatever was in the package. Subsequently, a lead inspector for the State of Michigan opened the package and tested the blanket inside, getting higher readings. He also dust-wiped for surface lead. The inspector said that with all of the recalls for lead poisoning items, that this was a “lead death” item, and that it would be like a giant “Hershey Bar” to autistic – or even neurotypical children – due to the fact that it has a sweet flavor and that if the outside was compromised a child would have access to massive amounts of lead.
Lois has made the observation that the stitching was done right through the lead. She observes that if pets get a hold of this, it will be further compromised by claws and teeth. Lois wonders if an autistic child who has suffered from seizures goes to the emergency room with seizures from a massive poisoning, will they suspect lead?
And today, the test results of the dust wipes are in. The outside of the blanket is lethal. According to the inspector from the State if Michigan, a child could die from licking the outside of the blanket.
If your child has been exposed to this type of blanket, take precautions, package it, and remove it from the living space of the interior of your home.
Autism One Radio is planning on airing an interview with Lois Smith, the videotape of the initial inspection of the blanket, and test results as they become available at www.autismone.org/radio. Our thanks to Lois Smith for her continued efforts to protect children.