You may have seen the national news reports recently regarding children being exposed to lead in drinking water, particularly the terrible years-long plight in Flint, Michigan and in public schools in Newark, New Jersey. Lead is often found in old homes and in paint and toys made overseas, along with corroded or rusting water pipes. In New York City, the dangers of lead exposure are very real.
About Lead Poisoning
If you or a loved one has been exposed to lead paint, you could suffer from symptoms such as nerve issues, muscle and joint pain, reduced sperm count, headaches, mood disorders, digestive issues, high blood pressure, and even concentration or memory problems. A doctor can run tests to see if you have been exposed and can begin treatment – the sooner the better.
Those are the severe and life-changing effects lead poisoning can have adults, but it is even more dangerous for young children under six years of age. Lead poisoning symptoms in children can include developmental delays, learning difficulties, loss of appetite leading to weight loss, sluggishness and fatigue, abdominal pain, vomiting, constipation, hearing loss, seizures, and hyperactivity.
When an expectant mother is exposed to or has ingested lead paint, she is more likely to have difficult pregnancies, miscarriages, stillbirths, or have an infant born prematurely, with lower birth weight, or slowed growth. These results are scary and can cause lifelong problems for those children and their families.
Important Lead Poisoning Facts:
- Lead poisoning is caused by both swallowing and even breathing in lead.
- Children under six years old are most at risk for lead poisoning.
- Lead can cause serious learning and behavior problems in children, including slowing down growth and development, damaging hearing and speech, and making it more difficult for the child to pay attention and learn.
- Most children get lead poisoning from lead paint in homes built before 1978. The dust from cracking and peeling paint is so small it often cannot be seen, but is ingested.
- A lead test performed by a doctor is the only real way to know if someone has lead poisoning. Many children exposed to lead may not look, act, or feel “sick.”
- Exposure to lead can also occur from water, when lead pipes carrying the water corrode and the lead leaches into the water and becomes your drinking water.
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), there is no “safe” level of lead exposure for children. Even a low level of this neurotoxin in their blood can lead to lower IQ levels, impaired attention span, and can have a negative impact on academic achievement. Unfortunately, the effects of lead exposure cannot be cured.
If you believe you have been exposed to lead paint, you should contact a lead exposure lawyer who can help you navigate the justice system and find out who is at fault for your condition. In New York, lead paint is a significant danger, given the prevalence of homes and apartment building built prior to 1978, when there were no laws in place regulating the use of lead paint.
For property owners, prevention is key.
How To Protect Against Lead Paint Poisoning?
- If you live in a house or apartment building built before 1978, have your home inspected by a licensed lead inspector and cleared for safety.
- If you believe your child might be exposed, use wet paper towels to clean up lead dust, especially around windows, play areas, and the flooring.
- Wash yours and your child’s hands often, and wash their toys with soap and water.
- If you suspect cracking or peeling paint has lead in it, use contact paper or duct tape to cover the chipping paint until you can have it inspected and removed.
- Always keep pregnant women and small children away from home renovations, which can produce toxic dust. Also, be sure you are using licensed workers who are trained in lead safety.
Lead is found in more than just paint.. Products and substances which commonly contain lead are some household and renovation dust, ceramics, home remedies, some hair dyes, some cosmetics, candy and toys made overseas, and lead can be found in some workplaces, such as auto refinishing garages, construction sites, and plumbing projects.
Medical professionals in New York, especially pediatricians, are required to test kids for the presence of lead in their systems, watch out for symptoms of lead poisoning, and give parents and caregivers advice on what to look for and how to recognize those symptoms themselves, as well as to point out potential risk factors. Healthcare providers can fail to administer these required tests or could forget to give advice or preventative information to caregivers, or may even fail to accurately diagnose and treat lead poisoning. In these cases, the healthcare professionals may be liable and a lead paint attorney will help determine the liability.
Some lead poisoning lawsuits we have won for our clients:
- We won $4.75 million for an infant plaintiff who was diagnosed with learning disabilities after eating paint chips which fell off of the walls of the family’s rented home, and the lead went to the child’s brain.
- We got a settlement of $1 million in a case involving a 3-year-old child who was exposed to lead after paint chipped off of the walls of their family’s rented apartment. They asked the landlord multiple times to fix it, he refused, and the Department of Health found multiple instance of excessive lead in the paint of the home. The child was diagnosed with permanent brain damage resulting from ingesting the lead.
- We recovered $175,000 for our client, who as an infant, ingested lead paint in their rented apartment, after the walls started peeling and chipping. The child’s poisoning was discovered when a doctor ran a test and found a lead level of 22Pb. The Department of Health investigated and the landlord was issued several violations. We brought the suit, as the child was diagnosed with loss of IQ points and hyperactivity.
If you or your children have suffered from neurological, behavioral or gastrointestinal problems and suspect that these may be the result of exposure to lead, contact Ronemus & Vilensky and speak to a qualified and caring lead exposure lawyer and personal injury attorney who will determine the best course of action and make sure you and your family get the justice you deserve.