NEW YORK, New York, September 17, 2007 – Although lead paint was banned in 1978, as a recent article in USA Today makes clear, this dangerous material, which can lead to lead paint poisoning and is known to cause adverse effects in infants and children, has yet to be safely eradicated from numerous American households. In fact, the National Center for Healthy Housing estimates that, on an annual basis, 1.1 million children are exposed to lead paint via remodeling and renovation work conducted in their homes.
While recently, lead-containing toys, fabricated in China, have generated headlines across the county, pediatricians and housing agencies warn that children run the greatest chance of developing lead paint poisoning from lead-based paint found in older houses and apartments. If lead paint begins to peel, chip, or in other ways generate dust, it is possible for young children to inhale or ingest it. This is exactly what happened to the children of a family, in Portland, Oregon, who were having their colonial home renovated by a contractor, who used an open-torch flame to remove paint from the walls. The children started to have symptoms of lead poisoning, including aggressive behavior, low appetite, and headaches. After accepting a settlement that was obtained by the family’s lead poisoning lawyer, the mother of the lead-poisoned children learned that the contractor had not been trained in how to safely remove lead paint.
Though Congress asked the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to draft mandatory rules requiring training for all renovation contractors, in 1992, it was not until 2006 that the EPA did so. Of note, the regulations that the EPA proposed do not address the type of open-torch flame favored by many in the construction industry for the removal of paint. When such a device is used on lead paint, it turns the lead into a gas, which, when it cools, turns into lead-containing dust.
The EPA estimates that in the United States more than 300,000 children have lead poisoning symptoms including, elevated blood lead levels and that the majority of these lead paint poisoning cases can be ascribed to unsafe home and remodeling practices.
Commenting on the USA Today story, lead paint lawyer Alan J. Konigsberg of Levy Konigsberg LLP noted that, “Lead paint is still a danger to young children under seven, who reside or spend time in old housing or other locations which were painted prior to 1978. Lead paint poisoning may cause a lifetime of injuries and disabilities. Lead poisoning symptoms that aren’t handled correctly can lead to brain damage, kidney problems, and learning disabilities in children. Other adverse effects may include difficulty following instructions – at home and in school – poor school performance, and diminished earning potential in later life.”
IMPORTANT: If you believe that you or your child has been lead-poisoned, you should speak with an experienced lead poisoning attorney regarding your legal rights. Contact the lead poisoning lawyers at Levy Konigsberg LLP for a free consultation by calling our 24/7 toll-free hotline at (800) 315-3806 or by submitting an email inquiry (see form above).