Have you, a family member, your infant or children suffered harmed because of lead-contaminated drinking water, or lead-based paint exposure?
Lead Exposure Lawsuits: The earth element Lead (Pb) is a malleable, dense, heavy metal that appears silver with a hint of blue when sliced. Lead also tarnishes quickly if exposed to air, and the color turns into a dull gray. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), lead particles that enter the body are distributed to the liver, brain, bones, and kidneys. Lead is very toxic to humans, and the heavy metal accumulates inside the bones and teeth of people who receive repeated, long-term exposure to lead through drinking water, paint, and contaminated consumer products and toys.
The WHO also states that lead exposure is preventable and that “there is no level of exposure to lead that is known to be without harmful effects.” Those who are at the most risk for causing or receiving lead exposure injuries are:
- Infants and Children – Children who are exposed to lead over sustained periods of time suffer the most harm because lead accumulation in the body of a child affects multiple body systems and hinders the proper development of children and especially infants.
- Unborn Children and Developing Fetuses – Pregnant women who have unknowingly accumulated lead inside their body can become a source of lead exposure to their developing fetus or their unborn child. During pregnancy, accumulated lead inside the pregnant mother’s bones is released into the pregnant mother’s blood.
Lead Exposure is Preventable – Our Firm Holds Those Responsible For You or Your Loved One’s Injuries
If you believe that you or a loved one has been harmed due to lead exposure, contact Parker Waichman LLP for a review of your potential lead (Pb) injury lawsuit. If the Statute of Limitations has not expired and Parker Waichman LLP can take your case, you do not pay upfront costs for the firm to represent you. Parker Waichman LLP handles most plaintiffs cases on a contingency fee basis, which means we only receive legal fees from a portion of the monetary compensation our firm recovers on your behalf.
What You Should Know About
According to clinics.law.harvard.edu, lead poisoning is a serious problem in the United States. It is easy for an individual, especially a child, to come into contact with lead. Specifically, in many communities across the nation, water infrastructure is a significant source of lead exposure, as lead can be found in lead service lines, lead pipes, solder, and figures. Lead is also present in paint used in old homes, batteries, old dishes, toys, certain pottery glazes, ammunition, paint used for boats, artificial field turf, and inside of industrial buildings. There are additional sources of lead, such as groundwater, the area around smelting operations, in household dust, in certain occupations, in pottery and painting, and in home remedies to treat an upset stomach such as “azarcon” and “greta.”
Per the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), lead poisoning is the leading children’s environmental health hazard. Lead exposure causes children and others exposed to it to become extremely ill and in some cases, even die. It is important to understand that, as discussed more fully below, even low levels of exposure can lead to serious health problems in children and adults.
As noted above, paint is a significant source of lead exposure in children. While the Consumer Product Safety Commission banned lead-based paint in 1978, it is estimated that fifty percent of children residing in urban areas such as New York City are exposed to lead on an annual basis, especially those who live in low income housing units or older homes. Lead poisoning physiologically affects children more than adults. In particular, the adult body absorbs roughly ten percent of the lead that it ingests. However, a child’s body absorbs about fifty percent of the lead it is exposed to. According to nationwide statistics, about two percent of children between the ages of one and five have dangerous levels of lead in their blood.
There has been a crisis in recent years in several areas across the United States, especially Flint, Michigan and Newark, New Jersey where contaminated drinking water has become a widespread problem that has led to serious health problems among children and adults alike. Residents of Washington, D.C., Durham, North Carolina, and Sebring, Ohio also have elevated lead levels in their drinking water, leading to significant spikes in blood lead levels. There have also been dangerous levels of lead found at military bases across the United States, as discussed more fully below.
If you, your child, or any other family member has been exposed to lead and suffered harm, contact Parker Waichman LLP. We want to help you hold those responsible for their negligence and the harm their negligence has caused you. Contact us today for a free consultation by filling out our online form or calling 1-800-YOUR-LAWYER (1-800-968-7529).
The Health Effects Associated with Short and Long Term Lead Exposure
It does not matter whether an individual swallows, inhales, or absorbs particles of lead, as the health effects of lead exposure are the same. Notwithstanding, it is important to realize that the body absorbs the highest amount of lead when it is inhaled.
According to the CDC, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health provides that lead is absorbed into the bones, tissues, and blood of a person’s body, and is stored as a continual source of internal lead exposure. As noted above, there are several effects of lead exposure that can result in serious health issues. For those who have been exposed to high levels of lead for a short period of time, they may experience the following:
- Abdominal pain
- Loss of appetite
- Pain and/or tingling in the feet and/or hands
These symptoms may be caused by other things and may also manifest slowly, which is why lead poisoning is easily overlooked by medical professionals. Keep in mind that exposure to lead may result in anemia, kidney damage, brain damage, and muscle weakness. Extremely high amounts of lead exposure may also lead to death. ,
Note that lead can go across the placental barrier, which means that women exposed to lead who are pregnant may unintentionally expose their unborn child. Lead can cause serious health problems to a developing fetus, including affecting the child’s nervous system, stillbirths, and developmental and learning delays. Lead exposure, especially in high amounts, can result in infertility in both women and men.
Prolonged exposure to lead can cause the following symptoms:
- Abdominal pain
- Nausea and vomiting
Lead exposure over the long term may also cause an elevated blood pressure, kidney disease, heart disease, cancer, and reduced fertility.
Health Effects of Lead Exposure in Children, and the Diagnosis and Treatment for Lead Poisoning
Children who are exposed to lead may not experience any signs or symptoms. However, others may experience:
- Behavioral problems
- Difficulty concentrating
- Weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea and vomiting
- Looking pale
- A metallic taste in the mouth
- Weakness in the muscles and joints
- Developmental and learning disabilities
How is Lead Poisoning Diagnosed?
A blood test is the way to diagnose lead poisoning. Doctors can either prick a child’s finger or place a needle into his or her vein. It is prudent to test children for lead in the body when they are between one and two years old.
The Treatment for Lead Poisoning
The treatment for lead poisoning is contingent upon how much lead is in an individual’s blood. The most significant treatment is avoiding more exposure to lead. For instance, a child with a small amount of lead in his or her blood can easily be treated. As the body naturally rids itself of lead, the level of lead in blood decreases.
For those exposed to high levels of lead, they will be hospitalized and receive a medical known as a chelator. This medication attaches to the lead and makes it weaker, thereby allowing the body to naturally rid itself of lead. It is also important to know that iron, calcium, and vitamin C as incorporated into a person’s diet can also reduce the amount of lead that a body absorbs. A doctor may recommend that your child take nutritional supplements if there is not enough in his or her diet.
Lead in Children’s Toys; a Serious Problem
According to connpirg.org, children’s toys are a significant source of lead poisoning. Toys that have metal parts and that are painted may be the cause of lead exposure in children.
Federal law dictates that all products for children, whether furniture, toys, etc., shall not contain more than 100 parts per million (ppm) of lead in parts that the child has access to. This is applicable to all children’s products and toys produced after August 14, 2011. For the paint in children’s toys, the concentration of lead must not be greater than .009 ppm. An exception to this law is that a child’s bicycle cannot contain over 300 ppm for parts that are accessible to the child. Moreover, children’s jewelry that has over 300 ppm of lead cannot be resold.
Each year, millions of parents purchase toys for children that have dangerous levels of lead. Such toys include, without limitation, the following:
- Geospace Product’s Bilingual Sci Scooter, made in Taiwan;
- The Petting Zoo’s Wild Onez stuffed animal lemur toy, made in China;
- Etna Worldwide Corporation’s Pop Open Police Tents, made in China, as well as Police Car Play Tents, also made in China;
- Shure Products’ Sweetheart Wooden Magnetic Dress-Up Dolls, made in China;
- Magic Source International’s Bow and Arrow Set, made in China;
- Bai Buy Dougie ’s Die Cast Toys, made in China;
- Vannesa Perex Toro’s Playground Bumper, made in China; and
- MagicForest’s 19” Dolls, manufactured in China
The Ban and Recalls of Lead-Containing Products in the United States & What to Do if You Think You have been Exposed to Lead
As noted above, lead can be found in many consumer products made in other countries that are imported to the United States or in older products that are no longer produced in the U.S. but passed down the generations in certain families. Moreover, lead may be found in paint that is banned in the United States but still widely used in other countries. Lead may also be found in toys that were made before the country banned the use of lead in consumer products.
Specifically, that rocking chair handed down in the family, favorite dump truck, toy jewelry, or antique doll furniture, may contain lead or be painted with lead-based paint. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has called for the ban and recall of products containing lead in the United States. For example:
- In 2004, the threat of lead poisoning from toy jewelry led the CPSC to issue a recall of 150 million pieces of metal toy jewelry that was sold in vending machines across the country.
- In 2007, the CPSC issued a press release recalling almost one million Fischer Price toys due to potential lead exposure.
- Toy jewelry that contains hazardous levels of lead has continued to be sold despite CPSC guidance banning the sale of these products.
- Other consumer products containing lead have been recalled, including chalk, crayons, clothing, and children’s products painted with paint containing lead.
Steps to Take if You or Your Child has been Exposed to Lead
If you believe that you or your child has been exposed to lead, contact a health provider immediately. As noted above, some people who have been exposed to lead do not display any symptoms. The only way to determine whether you or your child has been exposed to lead is to seek a blood lead test conducted by a certified lab (there are do-it-yourself lead detection kits however, their accuracy has not been determined). A healthcare provider can help you to decide whether a blood lead test is warranted and is in the best position to recommend follow-up actions post-exposure. Keep in mind that as blood lead levels increase, the negative effects from lead may also go up.
Do I Need Legal Representation?
Lead toys can result in serious harm for children. As such, you may want to retain the services of a skilled defective product attorney to handle your personal injury claim. Only an attorney is in the best position to advise you of the applicable laws as well as assist you in determining the right legal course of action. If you need help pursuing a legal claim, your lawyer can work alongside of you during each stage of the process and assist you in obtaining legal compensation for your losses.
Lead in the Country’s Water Systems is a Serious Problem
It has been six years since the story of lead-contaminated water in Flint, Michigan was discovered. Yet, in recent years, stories about lead-contaminated water and delayed responses from the government have surfaced across the country in cities such as Chicago, Illinois, Newark, New Jersey, Detroit, Michigan, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and Baltimore, Maryland.
It is important to understand that, according to the CDC and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), there is no safe level of lead in drinking water. However, the question remains as to why homeowners, municipalities, and schools are still detecting lead in their systems.
Aging infrastructure and the cost of replacing old water pipes and lead solder found in household plumbing are likely the reason for continued exposure to lead via drinking water. Keep in mind that water is delivered to facilities across the U.S. via one million miles of piping, many of which were laid in the 20th century that have a lifespan between 75 and 100 years, per a 2017 report from the American Society of Civil Engineers.
Pipes containing lead are being replaced at an average ½ of a percentage per year, which at this pace, would take more than two centuries to replace the entire system and would cost approximately $1 trillion, per the American Water Works Association. Meanwhile, a report issued back in 2016 by CNN indicates that over 5,000 American water systems that serve nearly 20 million people are in violation of EPA’s rules and regulations for lead in water
According to a report issued by the Government Accountability Office, or GAO, it outlines one reason why it can be challenging to determine when and where lead issues may arise. Specifically, many issues lurk in pipes linking a home to a municipal system, and many of the links are found on private property. This makes it difficult to locate their source, especially since the fact that, per the GAO, there is a lack of records of lead service line locations.
Children are Being Exposed to Lead on U.S. Military Bases at Alarming Rates
A comprehensive investigation conducted by Reuters has determined that many children residing on military bases in the United States may be exposed to dangerous levels of lead in military housing units. The investigation included samples of soil, paint, and water taken at homes on seven military bases. As a result of the final report issued after the conclusion of the investigation, a bipartisan group of four United States senators has requested that the Army conduct its own study of the issue and to develop immediate measures to address it.
Reuters, in partnership with Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (Lamont), issued a separate report that found high levels of lead in soil in Brooklyn, New York parks and back yards. As a result, a geochemist, Alexander van Geen, decided to supply sampling kits at military bases located in Georgia, Kentucky, New York, and Texas. The families that received the kits took samples and sent them to Lamont for testing.
Analyses indicated that there were no lead-related issues in soil or water, however, the results related to paint were a serious cause for concern. Specifically, at Georgia’s Fort Benning, paint chips in reach of children from five residences on the military base all contained dangerous levels of lead; in one case, the level of lead was 58 times the allowable limit. At West Point in New York, paint chips that fell from one’s family’s front door contained lead at nearly 20 times the federal safety limit. Lastly, at Fort Knox in Kentucky, paint that was peeling off of a covered porch where children play was 100 time the legal limit.
Lead Poisoning Lawsuits & Settlements
Lead exposure stems from several sources, the primary ones being leaded gasoline, housing paint, and lead-contaminated drinking water. Lawsuits across the United States have been filed due to lead exposure.
For example, in the case of Flint, Michigan, there are reports that many families have filed lawsuits against several private firms and the government. This case has focused the nation’s attention on the perils of lead poisoning. Specifically, court documents show that families are suing due to the alleged lead poisoning of at least 50 children. The lawsuit alleges that switching water supplies from Lake Huron to the Flint River resulted in the contamination. Since then, a report issued by USA Today uncovered the fact that there are many public water supplies in the U.S. that contain hazardous lead levels.
In another case, a $305 million settlement was reached in a historic California lead litigation. The purpose of the settlement was to resolve nearly two decades of litigation finding that NL Industries, Inc., Sherwin-Williams Co., and ConAgra Grocery Products Co. created a public nuisance by recommending the use of toxic lead paint in residences. The ten plaintiff cities and counties will be dividing the settlement money based upon the number of residences that contain lead paint in their jurisdictions. Each jurisdiction will then develop local clean-up programs that will be specifically created to meet their individualized needs.
Experience That Makes a Difference
At Parker Waichman LLP, our legal professionals are passionate about the work we do, and we are dedicated to advocating for the rights of every client. Our legal representation and quality service have helped our law firm earn a reputation for success. In fact, over the years, our lawyers have obtained more than $2 billion for our personal injury clients through hard work and determination.
A few of the honors and accolades that our firm has received include:
- An AVVO rating of 9.8 out of 10.
- A listing in Best Lawyers, which is based on extensive peer review.
- A peer review rating of “AV Preeminent,” the highest rating, from Martindale-Hubbell.
- Law Dragon’s highest ranking of “5 Dragons.”
If you or a loved one has been harmed by lead exposure, and you contact Parker Waichman LLP, you can be sure that we will listen to you. If we represent you or your family member, we will fight for your legal rights, and make every effort to obtain successful results in your case.
How to Know if You Are Owed Monetary Compensation for Lead Poisoning
If you or someone you love has suffered an injury due to being exposed to lead, we want to help you hold those responsible for their negligence and the harm their negligence has caused you. To speak with one of our lead poisoning attorneys about your potential case, call 1-800-YOUR-LAWYER (1-800-968-7529). You may also contact us online at YourLawyer.com.
Your initial consultation is free, and if we decide to take your case, we will work on a contingency fee basis, meaning that we only get paid for our services if you win. Please note that lead exposure cases must be filed before the expiration date, known as a statute of limitations. Therefore, it is important that you contact us as soon as possible to avoid missing out on the opportunity to sue for damages caused by lead exposure.
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