3.7 The Need for ATSDR to Consider Soil-Pica Children
When discussing the prevalence of soil-pica behavior (see Section 3.4), the panelists also responded to the question, "Should ATSDR evaluate soil-pica behavior as an exposure scenario for hazardous waste sites or is soil-pica behavior too rare to be a public health concern?" The panelists unanimously agreed that ATSDR should evaluate the public health implications of all types of soil ingestion behavior, despite the uncertainties that currently surround this issue. Two panelists noted that ATSDR is rightly concerned about soil-pica behavior, because soil ingestion has already been shown to be a significant risk factor for increased blood lead levels (BL) and exposure to soil-transmitted parasites (PS). Some panelists noted that ATSDR's current approach to evaluating the health implications of soil-pica behavior is reasonable, despite the fact that extensive soil ingestion data are not available; however, they repeatedly recommended that the agency gather additional data on soil ingestion to provide confidence in their current approaches.