Mum's shocking warning after bathtub gives son lead poisoning

Nadine Carroll

A mother has posted a chilling warning on social media after discovering that her three-year-old son has lead poisoning. Much to her surprise, it’s believed he was exposed to the toxin in the family bathroom.

When they Sydney woman noticed her oldest son was having behavioural challenges and development delays, tests revealed he had Autism.

The family’s paediatrician issued further testing to gain more insight into the boys diagnosis but nobody was expecting to see “lead toxicity” in the results.

The the finding “took us all by surprise,” the mother of two, who wishes to remain anonymous, told Yahoo News Australia.

She considers her family to be a “typical health conscious Australian family,” but said her son “experiences sleeplessness, extreme emotional outbursts, and inability to self-regulate, (which) is incredibly difficult”.

An old bathtub in a pink 1950's bathroom.
This is the bath the mother of two had been bathing her sons in for a year, and she had also used as a child. Source: Facebook/Everything Sutherland Shire

“I’m sure most parents would pass these signs off as kids just misbehaving,” but given the results of the test, the mother wondered if lead was the cause.

The concerned mum, who also has a 13-month-old son, researched online hoping to find answers on how her oldest son had been exposed to lead.

After coming across a parenting blog that mentioned original bathrooms in homes built before 1970 may contain lead bathtubs, the woman bought a testing kit to use on the bath in her 1950’s home, and it confirmed her fears.

“Once I swabbed the bath, the dye reacted with the lead and instantly turned red,” the mother said.

A woman using a lead testing kit (left) and the results from her son's tests showing that he had lead poisoning (right).
The mother used a lead testing kit on her bathtub (left) and the results from her son's tests showed that he had lead poisoning (right). Source: Facebook/Everything Sutherland Shire

The Sydney mum had been bathing her two young sons in the bath for a year and had also grown up in the home, using the bath herself as a child.

NSW Health confirms that lead poisoning could be to blame for her son’s behavioural difficulties.

“Lead exposure in childhood can cause behaviour and attention problems, learning difficulties and cognitive losses,” the website states.

Her son’s autism has meant the mother of two had to stop working to care for him and she is relieved that she finally has some answers, telling Yahoo News that she will be replacing the bathtub immediately.

“I’m overjoyed to think that life could become much more relaxed in the future!” she said.

A woman washing a small child in a bathtub.
The mother had been bathing her two sons aged, three and 13-months in the bathtub for a year.

The mother will now begin the delicate process of removing the toxin from her son with the help of their paediatrician, telling Yahoo that it “needs to be customised to suit each patient”.

Young children are particularly at risk of lead toxicity and the mother warns others to check their older homes for traces of lead but also adds that it’s not just parents who should be concerned.

“The burden shouldn’t be on mums and dads, but on the person selling or renting the property,” she told Yahoo News.

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