Lead poisoning results when lead, a powerful neuro-toxin, is ingested into the body. The ingested lead interferes with the development and functioning of virtually all of the organs in the human body. Once the ingested lead enters the body, it remains in the bloodstream or is deposited and stored in the kidney, brain, or bones of the individual. Lead poisoning is particularly detrimental to the kidneys, red blood cells and central nervous system.
Our trial attorneys represent children and families who have suffered from lead ingestion and exposure. We investigate and review potential lead poisoning claims and other toxic substances injury claims throughout the United States. If you have questions, please call us. You or your child may be entitled to financial compensation for injuries through a lead poisoning lawsuit or personal injury claim.
WHAT ARE THE HEALTH RISKS TO CHILDREN?
Children under age seven are particularly susceptible to lead poisoning because their bodies and organs are in the developmental stage and can be damaged by even small amounts of lead in the body. Additionally, children’s bodies tend to absorb lead more readily than adults. Children aged nine months to five years are especially at risk because they tend to put all kinds of objects into their mouths.
Lead poisoning can have numerous effects on children depending on the level of lead that enters the child’s system. High levels of lead can cause serious injuries such as kidney failure and brain swelling which can lead to coma or death. Low levels of lead poisoning can still have serious effects such as reading disorders, reduced IQ, attention deficit disorder and behavioral problems.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has estimated that the risk of a child suffering symptoms from lead poisoning begins when the level of lead in a child’s blood rises to 10 micrograms per deciliter (10 ug/dl) of whole blood. According to the CDC, childhood lead poisoning is the leading environmental health risk facing children in industrialized countries today.
In the United States, more than three million children, age six and younger, have experienced some level of lead poisoning. This fact means that one out of every six children already have toxic levels of lead in their bodies.
Cognitive and growth defects also may occur in infants whose mothers are exposed to lead during pregnancy.
EXPOSURE TO LEAD-BASED PAINT
Exposure to lead-based paint is widely considered the leading cause of lead poisoning in children. Although lead was banned in residential paint throughout the United States in 1978, about 60 million homes still contain lead paint. Homes and apartments built before 1978 are considered the highest risk for exposing children to lead poisoning.
According to a 1991 report by the Health and Environmental Subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives, “the older the house the more likely it is to have lead-based paint or varnish, and the higher the lead concentration of the paint is likely to be.” Additionally, paints used in industry or on equipment or in playgrounds or parks may still contain lead.
OTHER SOURCES OF LEAD EXPOSURE
Although lead-based paint is the most common source of lead poisoning, other sources can also contribute to the problem. Dangerous levels of lead have been found in vinyl and plastic mini-blinds and vertical blinds from Taiwan, China and Mexico.
Other lead-contaminated areas include the finishing on fixtures such as bath tubs. Exposure can also result from automobile exhaust from leaded gasoline, factory emissions and pesticides. Lead poisoning can even be caused by lead crystal and poorly glazed ceramic dishware.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sets strict limits for the lead content on products made or sold in the United States. However, there are a number of other countries that may have higher limits or no limits at all.
TAKING STEPS TO PROTECT YOUR CHILDREN
Most children are poisoned from the ingestion, or putting into their mouths, of peeling, flaking or chipping lead-based paint chips from the interior and exterior of their home. Just as hazardous as the paint chips containing lead is the invisible lead dust that is created when lead paint deteriorates or is disturbed by construction or renovation. This deterioration can occur from age, exposure to the elements, water damages, or when any objects come in contact with the paint (even from simply opening a window or door).
The level of lead dust in the air is especially high during home renovation, when special precautions should be taken. If your home has lead paint and you plan to renovate the home, hire a contractor licensed to work with lead. Make sure that children and pregnant women move out of the home during the renovations.
Unfortunately, a child’s exposure to lead can be needlessly aggravated by a landlord’s failure to obey local and federal health and housing regulations. Additionally, a child’s exposure to lead can be a result of a landlord’s refusal to comply with a tenant’s request for repainting of the interior or exterior of the home.
If you have noticed chipping and peeling paint in or near your home and suspect that your child has been exposed to lead-based paint there are several steps you can take.
- First, consult your child’s pediatrician or your local department of public health. Have a doctor give the child a Blood Lead Test and explain the results to you. In children under the age of seven, blood lead levels over 10 ug/dl (micrograms per deciliter) are considered hazardous. Also, if your home was built before 1980, it is a good idea to have a lead inspection of your residence.
- Second, learn more about how to protect your child from exposure to lead. Contact the National Lead Information Center at 1-800-424-LEAD, or your county Department of Health for more information.
Questions? Contact Our Lead Poisoning Lawyers
If you or a loved one is suffering as a result of injuries caused by lead ingestion, please contact Davis & Crump or call us at 1-800-277-0300 for immediate assistance. An experienced attorney is ready to meet with you in a free consultation to help you understand your legal options.
Fill out a free claim evaluation or call us at 1-800-277-0300 to get started.