St. Louis Lead Poisoning
The lead poisoning law firm of Levy Konigsberg LLP is helping the residents of St. Louis, Missouri fight the permanent and devastating effects of childhood lead poisoning. In 2014, more than 3300 of St. Louis’s children tested for toxic levels of lead in their blood. Unlike the City of Flint, Michigan, where that lead poisoning epidemic was caused by inadequate testing and treating of the city’s water supply, St. Louis’ crisis is the result of an older housing-stock and inadequate financial resources to abate the pervasive lead hazard. Nearly 90% of all housing in the City of St. Louis was built before 1978—the year lead-based paint was banned nationally for use in residential units—putting a significant number of young children at risk.
In 2014, 9.2% of St. Louis’ children who were tested for lead were found to have blood lead levels above 5 mcg/dL. When you add children who were found to have levels between 3 and 5 mcg/dL, that figure rises to a staggering 27.1%. Although most states consider 5 mcg/dL to be the threshold of concern, the CDC has found no safe blood lead level in young children. Furthermore, lead levels may fluctuate over time, depending on how long after ingestion the child was tested. Finally, although Missouri law says children under the age of 6 should be tested every year, fewer than half actually get tested. Thus, it is likely the number of children who have been exposed to lead is even greater than is reported.
The effects of childhood lead poisoning are permanent and devastating on both an individual and demographic level. When a young child ingests lead from peeling, cracking, or chipping lead-based paint, or inhales lead-based paint dust from friction surfaces, that lead seeps into their blood stream, bones and organs, and stunts the development of the brain during a critical developmental period. The brains of children six and under are laying the foundation to learn skills necessary to be a successful adult. Depending on when lead is ingested, the brain fails to fully develop one or more important areas that are necessary to master a certain skill. Thus, where one child may exhibit problems with language, another may have difficulties with math. Still others may have trouble with executive functioning, which is needed for adequately planning ahead, impulse control, and staying organized.
Lead-based paint was used throughout homes up until 1978, and if a homeowner did not pay to remove the paint, it continues to exist today under layers and layers of new paint. As a result, lower income homeowners and renters are the ones most likely to live in a home with lead-based paint. This puts lower income children at greater risk of lead poisoning and at a disadvantage academically and professionally when compared to children who grew up in homes without a lead hazard.
If your child shows any evidence of exposure to lead-based paint, it is important to get that child tested frequently. Early intervention can also help a child learn to cope with the developmental delays associated with childhood lead poisoning. Finally, the experienced lead poisoning attorneys at Levy Konigsberg LLP can help get your child the financial resources he or she needs to overcome the devastating effects of lead poisoning, and allow your child to live with financial independence and dignity as an adult. If you or your child has been exposed to lead at a young age, please call us or send us an inquiry from this website to see if you might have a case.