How can I Tell if my Child is at Risk for Lead Poisoning?
Every parent should be concerned about the potential risk your child has to toxic lead exposure. Contact with even the tiniest particles of lead through indigestion, absorption or inhalation can have a negative impact on your child's health that could last a lifetime. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), levels of five micrograms or less can cause significant problems with your child's IQ (intellectual quotient), mood and behavior, and their ability to stay focused that cannot be corrected.
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC represents families with children who are suffering severe side effects caused by lead exposure and other types of professional negligence. Our law firm has extensive experience in resolving cases for our clients who are suffering from many of the horrific side effects of long-term exposure to lead-based products. Our attorneys are available to answer any legal question on how to receive the monetary compensation your family deserves if your child has been diagnosed with elevated blood lead levels. Should you have additional questions, we invite you to contact our office for a free review of your legal rights.
How can my Child be Exposed to Lead?
If your building was constructed before 1978, it is highly probable that lead-based paint was used on both the interior and exterior of the structure. The presence of old pipes and plumbing can also increase potential risk because lead is used in pipes that can contaminate the water if the plumbing is damaged. Proximity to highly trafficked streets can increase the risk of exposure due to the accumulation of lead in the soil outside of your home that was contaminated by the use of leaded gas before the 1980s.
More Than Just a Regional Problem
Almost 25 years after General Motors closed their Flint, Michigan auto manufacturing plant, the local government faced an economic crisis that required drastic steps for the city to survive. In 2011, the state government took control of the city's finances after an audit revealed that Flint would be facing a $25 million deficit the following year. Because of a funding shortfall, the city decided to cut water supply costs by building a new pipeline from Lake Huron that would deliver water to Flint. Unfortunately, while the project was under construction, the city government supplied the town's water that was suctioned out of the Flint River. Not long after, residents and visitors complained of drinking “funny” tasting, odd-smelling water.
Virginia Tech and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) performed water tests in 2015 which revealed dangerously elevated levels of lead being consumed by adults and children. For many, the damage was already done after drinking unhealthy amounts of lead particles in the water. Unfortunately, lead-filled drinking water is not just a regional problem.
Many water companies in cities across America expose their residents to unsafe levels of lead-based products and water including Cincinnati Ohio, Poughkeepsie, Syracuse and Buffalo New York, and Oil City and York Pennsylvania. Many older unrenovated homes in these different communities have interiors and exteriors covered in lead-based paint that has peeled off the walls for decades.
Studies released by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) show that nearly one and seven children in America have been exposed to unsafe toxic levels of lead that was detected in their bloodstream. For years, the federal agency provided guidelines to doctors and medical experts on how to identify dangerous levels of lead in adults and children, claiming that ten micrograms per deciliter found in blood samples is considered unsafe.
Recently, the CDC Advisory Committee on Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention has determined that there are no safe levels of lead in a child's bloodstream. However, the detecting and identifying process for elevated blood-lead levels can produce false negatives when lead measurements are less than five micrograms per deciliter. Because of that, the federal agency uses five micrograms per deciliter standard as a guideline to identify unsafe levels in children and adults, even though lower doses cause catastrophic problems.
Today, there is still no effective medical solution for treating children with elevated blood lead levels of five micrograms per deciliter. The CDC suggests that parents identify the source of lead exposure in their house, at school, in the playground, or another structure and take steps to remove the child from that environment. The federal agency recommends that children with measured elevated blood-lead levels of 45 five micrograms per deciliter undergo chelation therapy to help remove some of the lead found and body tissue and free-floating in the bloodstream.
Additional CDC Recommendations
In 2012, an expert committee recommended that the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) reevaluate its “blood lead level of concern.” The committee stated that there had been additional scientific studies that revealed the permanent adverse health effects that elevated blood lead levels could cause. The committee recommended that the CDC identify every child who is residing in dangerous environments for extended periods of time that could create significant lead-associated hazards.
Their recommendations focus on a specific demographic of children between newborn and five years old in America who represent 2.5% of our youngest population. By reducing the level of acceptable exposure, these identified children who have a higher risk of lead exposure can be moved out of a dangerous or hazardous condition. The CDC pushed their guidelines and recommendations on communities, public health officials, doctors and parents to act as early as possible. The agency states that preventing lead exposure is the easiest way to protect children and eliminate the risk of lead poisoning.
Steps You can Take to Minimize the Risk
As a property owner, you can take immediate corrective action to eliminate deteriorating or peeling paint and any other lead-product exposure hazard at home. In fact, both state and local laws require the house undergo abatement if lead dust, particles or peeling paint has poisoned children. However, only a licensed, certified abatement contractor can perform the work.
The contractor will perform permanent elimination of toxic hazards using a variety of measures including enclosing the area, encapsulation, and removing the paint using control methods. Merely using an interim control repair to abate a lead exposure problem will not permanently eliminate the hazardous condition because the deteriorating paint is not removed. Instead, temporary control only stalls the deterioration process and never addresses the underlying cause.
Renovating a lead-hazard home without proper controls will disturb the paint surfaces and cause lead debris and dust to become airborne and increase the potential risk of exposing the child to lead. In many communities, nearly 50% of all reported cases of childhood lead poisoning were caused by renovation work in the home.
Getting Your Child Tested
If you are worried that your child might be sick because of exposure to lead, you should ask your doctor to perform a lead poisoning test. The doctor has two testing options including an IV (intravenous) draw of blood that can be tested and analyzed in a laboratory setting. Another method includes the capillary test (finger-stick or heel-stick) that is performed by pricking the fingertip or heel to draw a drop of blood for analysis.
Even though the first option provides better and more accurate results, many doctors choose to perform the second option because it is more comfortable for the child. Taking an IV draw of blood usually provokes a strong reaction from the child who will usually cry continuously throughout the process and after. Alternatively, using a finger-stick requires a quick poke to the child skin to draw an adequately-sized blood drop for testing.
However, if the doctor chooses the second option, you might not get an accurate reading and still not know whether your child has been exposed to the damaging effects of lead even if their exposure involved trace amounts. According to CDC, there are no acceptable levels of lead in children.
Typical Lead Poisoning Symptoms
If you are concerned that your child might be experiencing lead poisoning due to exposure to the toxic substance, there are specific symptoms that are related to the condition. Some of the symptoms include:
- Diminished red blood cell function
- Central and peripheral nervous system damage
- Behavioral issues
- Kidney problems
- Sudden weight-loss
- Abdominal pain
- Unexplained fatigue
- Reduced appetite
- Stomach cramps
- Brain damage
- Hearing loss
- Speech delay
- Learning challenges
- Muscle and joint pain
- Neurological damage
- Stunted growth
- Developmental delay
If for any reason you suspect that possibly her child has been poisoned due to exposure to lead, it is crucial to visit the doctor right away. Your child's pediatrician can order a blood sample test that can identify lead exposure to provide the answers you need.
In a statement released by the American Academy of Pediatrics, you should discuss known lead poisoning risk factors with the family doctor. Speaking to a physician right away is crucial if the child was exposed to airborne or eaten lead-based products including paint that might contain up to 40% dried lead solids. Paint manufacturers stopped adding lead pigments to their products back in the 1970s and have since replaced the color pigmentation with titanium oxide products.
Contacting a Lead Poison Injury Lawyer
Lead poisoning should be a grave concern to parents because it can lead to significant mental and physical problems. However, showing that your child was exposed to lead through the negligent actions of others can be difficult to prove in court. In many incidences, the child will not display any of the common side effects, mental health issues or physical problems until many years after they were initially exposed.
Many state legislatures enacted the first laws concerning lead poisoning back in the 1970s after realizing that lead exposure in children caused severe problems. Doctors first identified a correlation between lead poisoning and unusual behavior, reduced intelligence, and learning disabilities just before lead-based paint and unleaded gas were outlawed.
If your children were exposed to toxic levels of lead, they might have to live with their injuries forever. The premises liability and toxic lead injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC provide legal assistance to children and adults who have suffered severe harm through the exposure of elevated poisonous levels. Our legal team has successfully prosecuted lead poisoning injury cases. We will work aggressively on behalf of our clients to ensure their families receive the fair compensation they deserve.
Contact our attorneys today to schedule a free, no-obligation case consultation to discuss the merits of your monetary recovery claim. Our legal team accepts all personal injury case, wrongful death lawsuit, product liability suits and toxic exposure claims through contingency fee agreements. This arrangement postpones the payment of legal services until after we have successfully resolved your case through a jury trial or negotiated out of court settlement.
We provide every client a “No Win/No-Fee” Guarantee, meaning if we are unable to secure financial compensation on your behalf you owe us nothing. All information you share with our law office remains confidential.
For additional information see the following pages:
- How can I tell if my child is impacted by lead poisoning?
- How can I protect my family from lead exposure?
- Who can be held responsible for my child's elevated blood-lead levels?
- Can I bring a lawsuit to recover compensation for my child who has lead poisoning?
- What are the chances of winning a lead contamination lawsuit?
- How long does it take to get compensation for a lead poisoning case?
- Is there a cost to pursue a lead poisoning case for my child?