Home / Health / Lead poisoning crisis isn’t limited to Flint, Mich.

Lead poisoning crisis isn’t limited to Flint, Mich.

A Flint, Mich., father comforts his young daughter after she has her blood drawn to be tested for lead following the city's water contamination crisis.Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

A Flint, Mich., father comforts his young daughter after she has her blood drawn to be tested for lead following the city’s water contamination crisis.

Lady Gaga recently sang a powerful song at the Oscar’s about empathy that just about brought down the house. Her rendition of “If It Happened to You” shines a light on the victims of sexual abuse.

Flint, Mich., residents are suffering from lead poisoning from what amounts to environmental abuse — a term we rarely think about.

I have not yet encountered someone with lead poisoning in my practice, but I’m no stranger to its repercussions. I am also acquainted with physicians who have done amazing work chelating (detoxing) metals from its victims.

My cousin is a typical case of a lead poisoning victim — a minority growing up in an old, run-down building in an impoverished community in the South Bronx, eating paint chips off the wall and spending his childhood in Special Education classes frustrated with his inability to focus and grasp concepts.

While I was growing up in the Bronx and Yonkers, street violence was all-too-common — bullets flying and victims dying, followed by the inevitable memorial murals and flowers and candles on the sidewalk where victims had fallen. These sights and sounds were the backdrop of my walks to school.

As a practitioner, I later learned those bullets that had lodged in inoperable places among the survivors leaked lead. Only the lucky victims had competent physicians who chelated metals from their body.

So lead poisoning is not limited to Flint, or even more recently in the drinking water of schools in Newark, N.J. Every struggling community across the U. S. can lay a claim, whether its from contaminated resources, urban decay or urban violence.

Why haven’t these impoverished communities received the same attention as Flint?

The difference comes down to acute vs. chronic lead poisoning and the tests we use to identify each.

In Flint, many victims were diagnosed within 30 days of exposure to lead poisoning. That technique uses blood serum for lead testing, which is only reliable within 30 days of exposure, states Dr. Eugene Zampieron, co-founder of the University of Bridgeport Naturopathic College and a naturopathic physician.

Afterwards, when the lead poisoning becomes a chronic illness, the most reliable screening test is hair-cell analysis.

Unfortunately, this is also a very rarely used test in the field of conventional medicine. Thus, many victims who have suffered from chronic exposure are unable to be screened appropriately.

Speaking with Dr. Zampieron recently, he relayed a lead toxicity case he had recently treated — a fiddler who could no longer fiddle. This musician had renovated his 18th century house a number of years ago and the lead had caused a paralysis in his fingers, disabling him.

So Dr. Zampieron used homeopathic remedies, herbs, supplements and three apples a day (the pectin contained in apples helps chelate lead) to help this man.

Soon enough, the fiddler was able to regain movement of his fingers and play the fiddle, his life’s passion.

After this heartwarming phone call with my mentor, I called the gentleman waiting to be seen in my waiting room. It turns out he was a guitarist with recent paralysis in his fingers. Serendipity and fortune helped me with his case.

Countless disadvantaged people have a lifetime of opportunities and dreams ahead of them. Tragedies resulting from lead poisoning that are due to economic disparities in communities affect the dreams of these people and thus everyone.

Using natural remedies, appropriate screening tests and providing funding to communities in need can achieve, as the old Muslim proverb dictates, in “saving the life of one (being the) equivalent to saving the life of the world.” So humanity, let’s begin.

Dr. Carina Lopez is a bilingual Spanish/English naturopathic doctor, homeopath, licensed acupuncturist, master herbalist and biosyntonist. Using a supportive environment, Dr. Lopez assists with a spectrum of issues from dealing with pre-menstrual symptoms to allaying the pain from a chronic disease like lupus using the body’s own healing potential and natural, safe, effective treatments. Dr. Lopez began her career in conventional medical school, a model of healthcare that disillusioned her. During this time she became quite ill and thus learned the profound connection between health and happiness. In search of a new model of healthcare that would be more fulfilling, she traveled to Belize, working with a shaman. She enrolled at the University of Bridgeport College of Naturopathic Medicine, Acupuncture, and the School of Natural Healing. She also traveled to India and volunteered at the Maher Baba Free Homeopathic Dispensary and practiced homeopathy under her mentor, Robert Street. Dr. Lopez has also attended the International Academy of Classical Homeopathy-Greece for Post-Graduate studies under George Vithoulkas.

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