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Lead paint impacts child's immune system

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ROLLA, Mo., Dec 06, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- Paula Lutz, dean of the college of arts and sciences at the University of Missouri-Rolla says lead affects a child's immune system.

"Our immune system has to be up and running and doing a good job if we are to stay healthy," says Lutz.

Once ingested -- via lead paint chips that taste sweet or dust contaminated with lead -- the lead follows calcium to a child's bones and nervous tissue, as well as to many other tissues.

"Our preliminary data has found a correlation between elevations of blood lead and a type of protein that your immune system produces, an antibody called IGE that's associated with allergies and asthma," Lutz said.

"Of course a correlation does not necessarily mean that it's the direct cause, so we have to look for any other contributing factors that might be present."

Lead was banned in 1978, but is contained in an estimated 57 million homes across the United States.

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.

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