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Mum has paint removed from home after fears lead could harm children

A Worried mother is taking steps to have lead removed from her home after discovering it can reduce children's IQs by up to 30%.

A Worried mother is taking steps to have lead removed from her home after discovering it can reduce children's IQs by up to 30%.

Dr Paula Baillie-Hamilton, 40, fears dust could cause long-term damage to her four children, notably her three-year-old daughter, Lucy, who has high levels in her blood.

She has now hired the only specialist in the UK, Edinburgh-based firm Lead Test, to remove paint in a bedroom at her 200-year-old 10-bedroom Callander home as a trial.

The painstaking and expensive process focuses on removing material from doors and sash windows which can be rubbed off through opening and closing and releasing dust into the atmosphere.

Dr Baillie-Hamilton, who lives in Gart House with her laird husband Mike, has already bought a hi-tech vacuum cleaner with special filters and wipes down window sills with a special duster once a week

The Stirling University occupational and environmental health research fellow learned of the "worrying situation" while writing her new book Stop the 21st Century Killing You, which highlights the link between toxic chemicals and ill health.

Dr Baillie-Hamilton said very low levels of lead can damage IQ and childhood learning abilities with youngsters under the age of seven, of which she has two, being more at risk.

She added: "A recent study showed that lead can lower IQ by 11 points.

"The universal safety level is 10 micrograms per deciliter but my daughter's is 7.8 which is lower than that but according to the study it is at a level which could be damaging her IQ.

"A thumbnail of dust can poison a child and high levels of lead in their blood can cause behaviour problems such as aggression.

Dr Baillie-Hamilton said her three other children, Angus, nine, Bruce, seven, and one-year-old Rory, have not been affected because they take nutritional supplements.

"Lucy is a very boisterous and feisty little girl who doesn't like taking them," she said.

"I am extremely concerned about this and spike most of her food to make sure she gets the nutrition she needs to lower the level of lead she has absorbed."

Dr Baillie-Hamilton, who has over 20 years' experience in academic research and medical practice, said her house had been painted many times over the years but particles in lead-based paint rise to the top coating.

Stop the 21st Century Killing You, published today, is aimed at alerting people to the invisible dangers they face from their food and lifestyle.

Dr Baillie-Hamilton said she discovered mercury, used in dental fillings, is linked to a range of illnesses including cancer, autism, diabetes, asthma, heart disease, multiple sclerosis, depression and Alzheimer's disease.

She revealed fluoride was also hazardous to young children as it is a potent nerve poison that lowers the IQ.

"There is enough of the stuff present in a family-sized tube of toothpaste to kill a young child," she said.

"Our highly-evolved natural body systems are being poisoned by the ever-increasing levels of toxic chemicals that we now encounter in our everyday lives," she added.

"Dangers also lurk in everyday places such as plastic food storage containers and hair dye."

The book offers practical advice on how to avoid bringing toxins into the home - including natural alternatives to items such as washing powders and household poisons. 

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