FORT WAYNE, Ind. (AP) — Health officials are trying to find out what's causing high lead levels among Myanmar refugee children.
The Allen County Healthy Homes program, which has an office in the Community Resource Center for Refugees, has about 25 Myanmar children on its caseload, said Director Amy Hesting. Fort Wayne is home to thousands of expatriates from Myanmar, also known as Burma.
A recent spike in cases of lead poisoning among Burmese children has led officials from the program and an investigator from the State Department of Health contracted with the Centers for Disease Control to visit the children's homes looking for possible sources.
The team has mostly ruled out the usual sources, like lead-based paint, The News-Sentinel reported. Investigators now are looking at medicines, toiletries or household products that may have been imported from countries such as Thailand where the refugees lived before coming to the United States.
"We're getting as many products as we can and starting to analyze them," Hesting said. She said investigators were starting with items to which refugee children have the most exposure.
Samples are analyzed in Indianapolis by the state health department, but it can take weeks before results are sent to Fort Wayne.
Hesting said the CDC also was helping the group determine if the lead poisoning is limited to refugees.
Information from: The News-Sentinel, http://www.news-sentinel.com
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.