Mum warns other parents about the dangers of lead paint on bathtubs

Posted in Family Health.

A Sydney mum has warned other parents about the dangers of old bathtubs after some of her son’s behavioural problems turned out to be connected to the lead paint in their bath.

Behavioural issues

The woman – who is now choosing to remain anonymous – shared her family’s story with Yahoo Australia.

She also has a 13-month-old baby, and she explained that her three-year-old son had been diagnosed with autism.

“Her son’s sleeplessness, emotional outbursts, and inability to self regulate made life difficult,” Yahoo Australia reports.

When her family’s paediatrician ordered some further tests to investigate, it was discovered that the child was suffering from lead toxicity. The family were gobsmacked to hear this, as they had no idea of how he’d been exposed to quantities that would have health implications.

The clever mum did some detective work and stumbled across some information about old bathtubs being painted with toxic paint.

The bath was the culprit

She bought a testing kit to determine if her family’s bath might be the culprit and BINGO.

“Once I swabbed the bath, the dye reacted with the lead and instantly turned red,” she told Yahoo Australia.

The mum said she had stopped working so she could be at home to care for her older child, but she’s now very curious to find out what impact the lead poisoning might have had and whether her son’s behaviour may now improve.

“I’m overjoyed to think that life could become much more relaxed in the future!” she said, explaining that they’d be replacing the bath ASAP.

Lead leeching from old bath tubs

This mum is not the first to discover that her bath has been leeching lead.

US mum Laura Rudeseal discovered the same thing at her place, with two of her children poisoned by their home’s tub and testing positive for high levels of lead in their systems.

Melanie Ebsary’s son Ben was also poisoned by the family bath. Experts say these dangerous baths are often going undetected.

While it’s common knowledge that lead-containing paint in older homes poses a health risk – especially to small children who are more susceptible to the ill-effects of lead and have a tendency to put things/their hands in their mouths – old bath tubs have somehow flown under the radar.

In fact, the bathroom and tucked away plumbing – things like enamelled bathtubs, old pipes, solder and plumbing fittings – can all be sneakily harbouring dangerous lead. 

No safe levels of lead in humans

Lead can prove harmful to people of all ages, but the risk of adverse health effects is highest for unborn babies, infants and children.

Some children can have lead poisoning without exhibiting any symptoms. Others might have one or more of the following:

  • irritability
  • lack of energy 
  • loss of appetite
  • learning disabilities
  • behavioural problems
  • poor school performance
  • poor coordination
  • impaired growth
  • muscle pains
  • fatigue
  • abdominal pains
  • headache
  • nausea and vomiting
  • seizures

If you’re concerned about your child’s exposure to lead, chat to your GP.

If you’d like to test your own bath tub for lead, you can pick up a kit at outlets such as Bunnings.


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