Since the water contamination in Flint, Michigan, made national headlines there has been a growing concern about the dangers of lead in water supplies, especially when it comes to the health and safety of children. Just this week a Long Island school district announced water fountains in six schools had elevated lead levels. Lead in the water might be receiving a lot of attention right now but we cannot forget that the dangers of lead paint are this a major problem in this country.
Lead was used in paint for a number of reasons. It helps the paint dry faster, look fresh and stay durable to keep out moisture. However, the use of lead paint in private and public buildings, toys, and furniture was banned in the U.S. in 1978 thanks in part to a study which found lead in children’s baby teeth. Children can be drawn to ingesting lead paint chips or dust due to the sweet taste it gives off despite being extremely toxic. Just 10 milligrams (0.00035 ounces) of lead is enough to poison a child, which can lead to damage to the nervous system and kidneys, along with developmental delays including shorter attention span, anti-social behavior and learning disabilities.
Last month, comedian John Oliver ran a segment on his HBO show Last Week Tonight detailing the continued problems with lead paint. In the segment, Oliver presented troubling numbers regarding lead paint. According to U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development estimates, over 2.1 million households with a child under 6 years old have a lead dust hazard. In addition, the Centers for Disease Control report over half a million children between the ages of one and five have elevated blood lead levels.
Trying to combat exposure to lead paint has been difficult. The older houses and apartments built before 1978 are likely to contain lead paint if the living areas have not been maintained by landlords. Additionally, the federal program to remove lead in homes (known as abatement) has never been fully funded. In February 2000, it was estimated that it would cost $16.6 billion every year for a decade to eliminate the problem. However, no more than $176 million was ever distributed, with that number decreasing to $110 million in 2016.
Something the government has done, is try to protect potential buyers and renters of pre-1978 housing, as owners must disclose if there is any lead paint or lead paint hazards on the property. Potential buyers are also able to have testing done to detect any lead paint. In addition, contractors working on any facility where children are located must be certified and follow strict guidelines where lead paint is present in order to avoid contamination.
Right now the public may be primarily focused on lead levels in water, but overlooking the dangers still present from lead paint could be costly. If your child has been exposed to lead paint and has suffered from lead poisoning, contact the experienced attorneys at Finz & Finz, P.C., to fight for the compensation you deserve to protect your child’s future.