Lead Paint Poisoning: A Chronic Health Issue

Many children have suffered lead poisoning. Find out the symptoms and complications and how you can go about getting compensation if your child has suffered lead paint poisoning.

Despite implementation of regulatory preventative measures, lead poisoning remains a chronic health issue, particularly for children. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 310,000 children have elevated lead levels. The US Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Agency approximates one in 6 children has a high lead level in their blood.

Children are vulnerable to lead poisoning as their absorption rate is much higher than adults. Gastrointestinal absorption in children is 40 to 50 percent, versus 3 to 10 percent in adults.

Chronic lead paint poisoning is cumulative over a long period of time. Toxic concentration may occur after many years of a minimal degree of exposure to lead paint. Chronic lead poisoning is the most common form. Acute lead poisoning infrequently occurs due to the large amount of lead intake required over a relatively short period of time.

Lead paint was banned in 1978 after scientists discovered its harmful effects. However, low income children still tend to have higher susceptibility to lead paint poisoning. They typically reside in older homes or buildings that pre-date the prohibition of lead paint and whose building owners may not have deleaded their properties. Federal law requires states lead paint hazards known by sellers, landlords and realtors must be disclosed.

However, it is not necessary for children to live in a building containing lead paint to suffer poisoning. Regularly visiting a home which has lead paint or is in the process of being remodeled or deleaded poses a risk.

Lead paint becomes brittle over time and deteriorates. This disintegration produces lead dust, particularly around windowsills and door frames where friction is caused by the opening and closing of windows and doors. The dust settles on surfaces children come in contact with, such as floors and toys, and is transferred to their mouths by hands and toys.

Another factor in lead paint poisoning is chipping or peeling. A child who eats a chip the size of a thumbnail will have ingested enough lead to be life endangering.

Children suffering from lead paint poisoning may exhibit any of the following symptoms:

  • Anemia
  • Learning disabilities
  • Hyperactivity
  • Mental retardation
  • Kidney malfunction
  • Hearing Loss
  • Headaches

Infants in utero exposed to lead may have the additional concerns of:

  • Low birth weight
  • Low gestational age
  • Growth retardation
  • Delayed sexual maturation in females

A blood test is the only conclusive method to diagnose lead poisoning. For children at risk from lead paint poisoning, it is recommended blood tests be performed at six months of age. All other children should be tested at one and two years old. Testing is vital as the child may not demonstrate any symptoms of lead poisoning.

Some states have mandatory lead poisoning blood tests for children. The ages of testing may vary according to the state.

If you have any further questions regarding lead poisoning, contact Hastings, Cohan & Walsh, LLP at 888-244-5480.