2009 Lead Poison Update | New York Personal Injury Attorney


In 1960, New York City was the first city to ban lead paint. Since then, New York City has strengthened that law on two occasions. The last time the law was upgraded was in 2004, when the NEW YORK CITY LEAD POISONING PREVENTION ACT (Local Law 1) was passed.

The results of the City’s actions have been notable.

The City’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene reports that in the period from 1995 until 2007 the number of children reported with elevated blood levels dropped astonishingly from 19,000 to just 1900, a decrease of 90%.

Local Law 1 placed significant burdens upon landlords :
1: informing tenants about lead hazards;
2: inspect apartments where children under 6 years old reside;
3: correct and remove any identified lead problems and do so in a recognized and safe manner.

The United States Department of Health and Human Services has set a national goal of eliminating all new cases of lead poisoning by this year, 2010.

The likelihood of New York City reaching this goal seems remote at the present time. David Powell, of the Tenants and Neighbors organization in New York State, stated that a major obstacle in achieving this goal is the lack of adequate enforcement by the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development. Unfortunately, the Department’s budget in 2010 is $20.6 million, while last year it was $25.8 million ! The national economy negatively affects lead poisoning prevention efforts, as it does so much else.

Nevertheless, the admirable reduction so far in lead paint cases among children is due, in the main, to increased awareness on the part of parents to the hazards of lead paint. ANYONE THAT BELIEVES THEIR CHILDREN MAY FACE LEAD POISON HAZARDS SHOULD CONTACT 311 FOR ASSISTANCE. If, unfortunately, your child seems to have been effected by lead paint poisoning, which is indicated through lead testing by your doctor or at a hospital, contact a reputable personal injury attorney, experienced in lead poison cases, as soon as possible.

To read the New York City Local Law 1 go to:



Lead Posioning in Children is still a real Problem and the EPA is Stepping up

“Lead is still present in many of our neighborhoods, but we can limit exposure to children and adults by working together on comprehensive actions…,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “We’re committed to giving our nation’s children the fullest protection possible, and giving parents clear assurance that their children are safe from harm.”

According to the Lead Poisoning Prevention Program that the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene published in 2005:

New York City (NYC) has made great strides in reducing the number of childhood lead poisoning cases; since 1995 there has been an 82% decline in the number of NYC children less than 6 years of age who are newly identified each year with elevated blood lead levels (BLLs). Despite this progress, however, 3,490 NYC children were identified with elevated BLLs in 2003. Thus, lead poisoning remains an important public health problem.”

The EPA is Trying to push for further regulations and testing of buildings including tests of air quality encouraged by the 2008 Sierra Club settlement in conjunction with efforts put forth by the NYC Coalition to End Lead Poisoning. Small children, especially in economically challenged neighborhoods, are still very susceptible to the detrimental effects. The EPA acknowledges the problem is still pervasive and landlords along with the government at all levels need to work to take responsibility for the issue of lead poisoning, especially in dense urban areas in New York City.
In addition to trying to get more pervasive testing in buildings, the EPA is seeking to get a ban on lead weights used in tire balancing which contribute to lead particulates in the air.
If you believe you or a loved one may have fallen ill from exposure to lead here is a link to some of the symptoms of lead poisoning. You should also read this blog post about lead poisoning in New York children.


Lead Poisoning In New York can occur even in your Urban Garden

As a law firm with years of experience in New York lead posioning cases

we have seen the effects lead can have on families, especially children.  Often, people only think of the lead poisoning occurring from within a building from paint or a from the water coming through old pipes, but a recent New York Times Article shows that lead has seeped into gardens throughout New York. Lead can come from paint removal , leaded gasoline, heavily trafficked roadways or even leaded pesticides and permeate your home grown foods. The harmful effects can last generations.

The side effects of Lead Poisoning can include

  • loss of appetite
  • constipation or nausea
  • stomach pain
  • yellow coloring of the skin
  • excessive tiring or weakness
  • weight loss
  • insomnia
  • headache
  • nervous irritability
  • tremors
  • numbness
  • dizziness
  • hyperactivity
  • anxiety.

The New York Times Article is a must read if you currently have or are considering an urban garden and want to avoid the harmful effects of lead poisoning.


Lead Poisoning – Are our children still at risk?


While the annual number of children suffering from lead poisoning in New York City continues in the low thousands, Childthe totals have been significantly reduced  over the past decade or so.   This is the direct result of a program of prevention instituted by New York City.

The main causes of childhood lead  poisoning are either peeling lead  paint or lead dust.  Both result from deteriorating lead paint that is then ingested by infants and toddlers crawling on floors or licking fingers after playing with dust covered  toys.

Prolonged exposure to lead  by children can result in severe developmental disabilities that can have serious lifelong effects.   It is extremely important that parents take the measures suggested, to see that this does not occur.

In New York City, all pediatricians are required to test blood levels for lead at  BOTH one and two years old.   If there is any indication at all that there may be a lead  paint problem in the children’s home, then the pediatrician  must also test all children up to age 6.   These tests are extremely important since  most children with elevated blood lead levels show  NO SYMPTOMS  of any sort.   The only way then, to assure  no future injury, is to have the required blood test.

Parents who suspect the presence of lead paint in their home may also call the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (call 311) and it is very likely an inspector will be sent to inspect the home.  Landlords are  required, even before a family moves into an apartment, to remove all lead paint hazards if it is known that a young child will be among the tenants.  There are penalties, in addition to civil liability in a lawsuit, for failing to do this.

Generally speaking, a blood lead level in a child of 10 or above will be sufficient  to seriously consider a civil lawsuit.  Many other factors affect the determination of whether a lawsuit is appropriate or sustainable.  Experience in bringing lead poisoning lawsuits ought to  be a mandatory prerequisite in choosing an attorney, should the need arise.

Lead Poisoning Fact Sheet

Posted by New York Personal Injury Lawyer Steve Orlow