We’ve known for decades now that the dangers of lead poisoning can include serious health issues-especially in children. But just last week, the Centers for Disease Control further lowered the threshold of what is considered “high blood lead levels” among children under five. Taking the new threshold into account-5 mcg/dL, or half that of its predecessor-the CDC now estimates that over half a million children in this age group have blood lead levels that are cause for concern.
Most often, these children are exposed to lead through residual lead paint dust or chips. Prized for its glossy, vibrant sheen, lead paint was widely used in houses until it was banned in 1977, and is still found in many older residencies where full removal of the paint would require heat stripping or outright demolition. The difficulty and expense in fully removing this toxic substance from older houses-compounded by budget cuts to the CDC and local health departments-means that the health of entire communities has potentially been placed at risk.
Long after children who have lived in houses contaminated by lead paint have grown up and moved away, lead poisoning rears its ugly head. It affects the development of the central nervous system, causing everything from learning disabilities and behavioral problems to more severe brain and kidney damage, and a number of other ailments that can be, and should have been, prevented.
If you are concerned about you or your child’s health and believe lead poisoning may be suspect, it’s important to contact your local health department and get your house inspected (you can see a list of Maryland lead investigators here). State health departments have varying recommendations for lead screening among children, though the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that children be tested when they are 1-2 years old.
Instances of lead poisoning through negligent property management and maintenance may also be reason to contact a lawyer. Our firm has served as counsel for both plaintiffs and defendants in cases of lead poisoning, and urge those concerned about the possibility of lead poisoning to contact the firm.
Our dual perspective gives us a thorough understanding of this type of litigation that not many can match. In 2007, our attorneys served as defense counsel at trial in a case that would have greatly impacted the Housing Authority of New Orleans, a vital organization to 19,000 Louisiana residents. With several billion dollars at risk, our firm worked to preserve the housing authority’s ability to continue to serve those in need. Ultimately, through a carefully-crafted settlement, the families of thousands of children affected by lead poisoning were compensated for their suffering, while allowing the Housing Authority to remain operating.
In the years since, we have represented a number of individuals harmed by lead paint and other toxic substances, including carbon monoxide, fly ash and more, in cases that have resolved for upwards of $54 million on behalf injured plaintiffs.
We encourage you to contact the firm if you or your family are concerned that lead paint or other harmful substances may be in your home or water. Our attorneys have litigated across the country, and can advise you on your legal rights moving forward.