Lead exposure in children is extremely dangerous and can lead to devastating and fatal health effects. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2006, there were approximately 5,784 children under the age of six who had confirmed elevated blood lead levels in New York State, including New York City. Nationwide, there are as many as 250,000 children, who are one to five years of age, who have elevated blood lead levels.
Children are particularly at risk of lead poisoning, because they develop very quickly. Studies have shown that children with blood lead levels of 10 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood can have their physical and mental development negatively affected.
Manner of Exposure
Children in the United States are frequently exposed to lead through lead-based paints and lead contaminated dust. In the United States, the use of lead-based paints in homes was legal until 1978. As a result, it is highly probable that homes built before 1978 will have some lead-based paint in them. This lead-based paint can become extremely dangerous because it can chip, peel off, and turn into lead contaminated dust.
When the lead paint chips, children, who are apt by nature to grab objects and put their hands in their mouths, can ingest lead paint chips. Children can also be exposed to lead if the lead turns into dust, and the children breathe in or ingest the lead dust.
The risk of lead exposure and poisoning is disproportionately high in urban areas where there are older apartment buildings and housing units. The CDC states that about 24 million housing units have lead paint that is deteriorating and have elevated levels of lead-contaminated dust. At least 4 million of these homes have one or more young children residing in them.
Health Effects of Lead Poisoning
Adults and children who suffer lead poisoning can experience a host of devastating health effects and injuries, such as:
- Nervous system damage
- Cognitive impairment such as memory loss
- Behavioral changes, such as irritability
- Hearing loss
- Gastrointestinal problems
Children are especially susceptible to delayed or stunted growth and learning disabilities. Extremely high levels of lead can also cause irreversible brain damage and possibly death for both adults and children.
For a skilled and experienced lawyer who handles lead poisoning cases, contact the Law Firm of Leandros A. Vrionedes, P.C. for a free initial consultation.