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, the 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.
Posted by New York Personal Injury Lawyer Steve Orlow