For quite some time, we’ve fallen into the belief that lead poisoning is an issue long resolved, but recent reports have revealed that it is a bigger problem than we ever thought. The Chicago lead poisoning attorneys of Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers are accepting cases involving injuries occurring due to overexposure to lead and seeking compensation on behalf of victims who suffered developmental delay, cognitive impairment and other serious medical complications because the owners of the properties they resided in did not take the needed steps to bring lead contamination within legal limits. Following are some important facts and statistics you need to consider about lead poisoning and how it may be impacting your children.
The CDC Has Enacted Stricter Guidelines
Until only a year ago, the accepted level of lead in children’s blood as cited by the Center for Disease Control was 10 micrograms per deciliter of blood. At these levels, it was estimated that about 77,000 to 255,000 children in the United States currently suffer from lead contamination of some kind. When the CDC lowered its standard in May of 2014, the number of children falling into the new range skyrocketed. Under the new guidelines, it is now estimated that over 535,000 children fall into the new range, which is a drastic increase and sparks the need for a discussion on lead in our environment.
An undeniable link has been established between poverty and lead exposure, as poorer families are more likely to live in older buildings or neighborhoods within cities such as Chicago that have heavy traffic. The correlation between lead poisoning and highly trafficked neighborhoods is due to the presence of lead in gasoline until the 1980s— while our vehicles no longer emit lead, the soil is still contaminated by it. What is even more concerning about the data revealed by the CDC is that many cases of contamination continue to go undiagnosed, which means the problem may be worse than we expect.
World Health Organization Data Reveals Children are at Greater Risk
The World Health Organization has studied the rise in lead contamination across the globe and come to the conclusion that children are much more likely to suffer severe complications from lead exposure than adults. Some of the data used to come to this conclusion follows below.
- Children consume more air, food and liquid proportional to their body mass than adults do. This means that the concentration of lead in their bodies is almost always going to be higher than in adults who have received the same exposure.
- Younger children are more curious, and thus more likely to explore contaminated areas or come across contaminated objects. In their infancy, they often explore things with their mouths— increasing their exposure to lead via toys, chipped paint or lead dust.
- Children have less control over their environment than their adults do, meaning they are often helpless to leave an environment that is unhealthy.
- Lead that has entered the body inevitably makes its way into the bones. This has a stark impact on children in the womb because the lead that has built up in the mother’s bones is removed and passed onto the unborn child. When the child is exposed, it can impact the development of the brain or nervous system.
- Adults only absorb about 10% of the lead they ingest. Children absorb 50%, placing them at a much greater risk of developing medical complications.
- When children are exposed to lead in their early years, it has been shown that the lead damages their DNA and makes them more likely to encounter genetic diseases when they are adults.
In addition to the findings by the CDC and WHO, studies have shown that children were far more likely to underperform on standardized tests when suffering from lead poisoning. Our Chicago lead contamination lawyers have noticed a rate of as high as 50% of children falling behind their peers in school when lead poisoning has become apparent.
What to Do Following a Diagnosis of Lead Poisoning
The first step that needs to be taken when you or your child has been diagnosed with lead contamination is to determine the source of the contamination. If you have multiple children, it is imperative that you have your entire family tested to reduce the likelihood that each of your children suffers injuries. If the contamination is due to the poor maintenance of your building or its environment, you may have grounds to file a lawsuit against the property owner. Paint used before the 1980s, old toys and worn lead pipes are common sources of lead exposure as well as contaminated soil near major roads and intersections. In addition to filing a claim against the property owner, you may also have a claim against the manufacturer or distributor of any items tainted with lead.
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers fights hard on behalf of our clients to ensure that they can lead productive and fulfilling lives even though they have suffered debilitating injuries. We help each client gain access to the medical and social care that they need through our network of medical experts and social workers so that they can focus on recovering from and coping with their injuries. In order to ensure you can afford these services, we explore every legal avenue available to maximize the value of your case and collect the compensation that you are entitled to by law.
Contact us today to arrange a free consultation with one of our Chicago lead poisoning attorneys to learn more about how we can help, what legal options are available and how we would proceed with your case. We work solely on a contingency basis, which means that we will never accept or request an attorney’s fee unless we have successfully secured damages on your behalf. If we cannot collect for you, our services will be free of charge.