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January 1, 2003

letters from readers

 

READERS' FORUM

Jump to:Choose article section... Correction No conclusions yet on changing "safe" lead level An international perspective on health care

Correction No conclusions yet on changing "safe" lead level

An item in Eye on Washington (Updates, November 2002) reports that a CDC panel "is expected to recommend that an acceptable blood [lead] level for children be cut by half by early next year." This statement is inaccurate.

It is true that a task force is reviewing and evaluating peer- reviewed, published studies that include data on the effects on young children—in areas such as neurocognition, growth, and behavior—of a blood lead level <10 mg/L, which is the CDC's accepted level of concern. The CDC Advisory Committee on Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention will receive recommendations from that task force before it decides whether a change in the level of concern is indicated.

Because I sit on the task force, along with eminent epidemiologists, clinicians, and researchers, I know very well that, in fact, no conclusions have been reached—nor will they be by "early next year."

Birt Harvey, MD
Palo Alto, Calif.

An international perspective on health care

We just received the first two issues of our subscription to Contemporary Pediatrics for the Lao pediatric residency program. The 19 residents are sharing their copy of your valuable publication. I have used articles from previous issues for teaching, and last week our journal club discussed the article on the workup for anemia that was published in the September 2001 issue.

The problems that physicians face in Laos are very different from the ones addressed in Contemporary Pediatrics. Here, patients suffer malnutrition, thalassemia, diphtheria, typhoid fever, malaria, beriberi, and rheumatic fever, and often exhibit signs and symptoms that the physicians are unable to explain. The medical staff has few reference materials, few books, and limited access to the Internet, and must overcome obstacles of language (for many of them, English is a third or fourth language!). Despite those difficulties, the physicians are pleased to receive Contemporary Pediatrics and have the opportunity to share the experiences of pediatricians in the United States. Thank you very much for the subscription!

Leila Srour, MD, MPH, DTM&H
Lao People's Democratic Republic

 

Readers' Forum. Contemporary Pediatrics 2003;1:114.