What You Need to Know about Lead Paint & Lead Poisoning in New York

Lead poisoning is a surprisingly common occurrence in New York City. This is especially troubling because lead poisoning can cause serious health problems and even death. Since the 1970s, state and federal government has been trying to eliminate lead-paint exposure. Unfortunately, the process has been slow-going and people continue to be victimized by lead paint to this day.

What Is Lead And Lead Poisoning?

Lead is a metal that harms people when it gets in their bodies. According to the New York Department of Health, lead can be found in a variety of sources:

  • Dust
  • Air
  • Water
  • Soil
  • Household Products – toys and cosmetics

Lead poisoning results when lead builds up in the victim’s body, over years or months. According to the Mayo Clinic, lead-based paint and lead-contaminated dust are the most common sources of lead poisoning in children. Dust and paint containing lead are usually found in buildings constructed before the 1970s.

Detecting Lead Paint And Lead Poisoning Testing

Lead paint can be detected by a simple kit carried by most hardware and paint stores. Of course, you should follow directions and exercise caution around paint that may be lead-based. Another option is to defer to the professionals and contact a company that detects lead paint.

Lead poisoning in humans and animals can be detected through a simple blood test that measures detectable lead levels in the blood stream. However, most people suffering from lead poisoning do not know the cause of their ailments and do not consider lead as the potential cause. Knowing the symptoms and warning signs of lead poisoning can save a person from needlessly suffering and sustaining permanent damage to their body.

The Symptoms of Lead Poisoning

Diagnosis of lead-paint poisoning can be difficult because people often look and feel healthy, even with high levels of lead in their blood. It usually takes a long period of exposure and accumulation of lead before strong symptoms manifest. The Mayo Clinic lists the following as indicators of lead poisoning in children:

  • Irritability
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Weight Loss
  • Fatigue
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Paleness from anemia
  • Difficulty learning (children & newborns)
  • Slowed growth (newborns)

Different symptoms may manifest in adults with lead poisoning, they include:

  • Pain, numbness or tingling in the extremities
  • Muscle weakness, fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Memory loss
  • Mood disorders
  • Reduced sperm count
  • Miscarriage, premature birth

Treatment of Lead Poisoning

If someone is demonstrating symptoms of lead poisoning or have been exposed to lead, they should visit a doctor. Various treatments are available depending on the victim and the level of lead they have in their bloodstream. Some of the remedies include:

  • Ingestion of iron, calcium and zinc
  • Bowel irrigation
  • Anti-convulsants
  • Medication to reduce swelling of brain
  • Chelation therapy

After Diagnosis, Report Exposure and Seek Legal Representation

If you or your child has a blood-lead level of 10 mcg/dL or higher, the health care facility is required to report your case to the state. However, if you have any detrimental levels of lead in your blood, call 311 to report to the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. If you believe the lead exposure came from a particular building, then a supervisor should be notified immediately.

Lastly, ensure you contact a reputable New York attorney experienced in lead poisoning cases. A knowledgeable lawyer can help you obtain compensation for any past, present or continuing medical ailments associated with the lead exposure.