Lead, which is number 82 on the Periodic Table and is represented by the symbol “Pb,” is a neurotoxin that poisons children’s brains when ingested. Children are most susceptible to permanent damage from lead poisoning because their brains, especially those of children under the age of six, aren’t fully formed. A lead poisoned child is less likely to graduate from high school, is far more likely to repeat at least one grade level, and will typically suffer significant learning disabilities that drastically impair earnings over the course of a lead poisoned child’s life.

Lead poisoning cannot be cured.

More than 20% of kids that are tested for lead levels in the poorest parts of Chicago have elevated lead levels the Centers for Disease Control considers lead poisoning. Children ages five and younger are being lead poisoned in rates up to six times Chicago’s average in portions of the city made of predominantly African-American neighborhoods devastated by poverty, poor schools and violence.

To compound matters, the City has virtually no money to inspect residences, remediate lead hazards and provide assistance for families. In 2014, the city cut in half from $8 million to $4 million the money set aside for anti-lead programs.

With less and less money being apportioned for the problems associated with lead, thousands of older homes and apartments in Chicago still contain lead-based paint.

The media has recently highlighted cities like Flint, Michigan and Newark, New Jersey, as having high incidents of lead exposure as a result of contaminated drinking water. However, the most common form of exposure to lead is from lead-based paint. Children, especially young children accustomed to crawling, cruising and learning to walk oftentimes put paint chips in their mouth, when deteriorated paint is chipping, flaking or peeling. Lead paint has a very sweet, candy-like taste, so a child that eats a single, lead-based paint chip will likely seek and consume more.

The City of Chicago and its surrounding cities, due to the large number of buildings constructed prior to 1978, when lead-based paint was outlawed, has a population of young children extremely susceptible to lead poisoning.

Despite the lack of funding presently available to support lead poisoned children and the prevention of exposure, Chicago has certain laws that have been enacted to protect children from lead poisoning. The maintenance of housing is the responsibility of owners in a manner that prevents the existence of lead hazards. (Chicago, Ill., Municipal Code § 7-4-030). Furthermore, each building that is regularly frequented by children six years of age and younger must be maintained so they are free of lead hazards. (Chicago Dep’t of Public Health Rules & Regulations, Control and Mitigation of Lead Bearing Substances § 2). If an owner has received a notice of a lead hazard, he is required to post the notice sent to him by the Department of Public Health in common areas of the building. (Chicago, Ill., Municipal Code § 7-4-105).

Every health care provider, including pediatricians and clinicians involved in performing lead tests to determine lead levels in a resident of Chicago resident’s blood is required to report the results to the Department of Health. (Chicago, Ill., Municipal Code § 7-4-115; Chicago Dep’t of Public Health Rules & Regulations, Control & Mitigation of Lead Bearing Substances § 15). Child care facilities are required annually to send an informational pamphlet on lead poisoning to parents or guardians of kids that are six years old and under. (Chicago, Ill., Municipal Code § 7-4-075). Children between six months and six years of age are required to present a certification of having been lead screened before being admitted into a day care, kindergarten, or nursery school. (Chicago, Ill., Municipal Code § 7-4-070).

A representative of the city is authorized to inspect any residence, child care facility, school, or other location frequented by children ages six and under, including commercial establishments, to determine if there are lead hazards. The city representative may apply for a warrant for inspection if entry is denied. An authorized representative of the city may also inspect soil surrounding said facilities. (Chicago, Ill., Municipal Code § 7-4-090).

The attorneys at Levy Konigsberg, a national leader in lead poisoning litigation and renowned advocates for children have collected over 100 Million Dollars on behalf of lead poisoned kids for their lost earning capacities; their perceived diminished self-worth; and for medical monitoring.

If you believe that you, your child or a family member has been lead-poisoned, you should speak with an experienced lead poisoning lawyer 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 submit an email inquiry.

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