Manhattan, New York (NewYorkInjuryNews.com – Product Liability News Update) — A very common problem facing tenants living in and around New York City is lead poisoning in infants.
The situation is particularly tragic when one considers that a building owner can remove lead paint at little expense. Lead-poisoned children, on the other hand, face a lifetime of disability and hardship. Because of the severity of their injuries, many of these children require significant future medical expenses and will be unable to earn a living.
In 1960, New York City banned the use of lead-based paint. City law also requires landlords to remove or cover any lead-based paint in apartments occupied by children under the age of 7. Yet, lead poisoning is a problem that continues to affect many children in New York City. According to the Center for Disease Control, thousands of children in the United States between the ages of 1-5 years have elevated blood lead levels.
Children are most commonly exposed to lead by eating lead-based paint chips or inhaling lead-contaminated dust from peeling paint in deteriorating apartment buildings. Landlords may not know of the lead hazards in their building or, worse, as we see in many cases, choose to ignore lead paint or defy City inspectors who order them to remove it. This is hard to understand because the costs to eliminate lead hazards are relatively low.
On the other hand, the costs of caring for a child stricken with lead poisoning can be enormous. Lead poisoning can affect nearly every system in a child’s body. Because lead poisoning often has no obvious symptoms, it usually goes unnoticed by a child’s parents. If left untreated, lead poisoning can cause children learning disabilities, developmental delays, behavioral problems, kidney problems, hearing problems and, at very high levels, seizures, coma and even death.
If you suspect that your child has been ingesting paint chips or inhaling lead, you should immediately bring the child to a doctor so that a blood level test can be taken. The test will aid the diagnosis of the conditions and can also be used in any litigation. Low levels of lead have been associated with impaired physical and mental development in children. As one court described accurately:
“When absorbed into the human body, lead affects the blood, kidneys and nervous system. Lead’s effects on the nervous system are particularly serious and can cause learning disabilities, hyperactivity, decreased hearing, mental retardation and possible death. Lead is particularly hazardous to children between six months and six years of age because their neurological system and organs are still developing.”
In re Lead Paint Litigation 191 N.J. 405, 414 (N.J., 2007) – citing Childhood Lead Poisoning in New Jersey: Annual Report.
It is important to remember that any amount of lead exposure can be harmful to children. According to the U.S. government, “no safe blood lead level in children has been determined.” (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Health Effects of Lead).
If you learn that your child has elevated levels of lead, you should first make sure that he or she gets all necessary medical treatment and is examined regularly by doctors afterward. You should then take the next step to protect your child’s future by consulting with reputable attorneys about bringing a lawsuit for compensation since these are complicated cases that require skilled and experienced attorneys in order to succeed.
For questions related to personal injury or if your child has been effected by lead paint and you have questions, complete the form below and our team of New York Personal Injury attorneys will address your situation in the next news post. This panel includes:
Nicholas Papain – New York City Product Liability Lawyer