Lead Poisoning Lawyer
Lead is a naturally occurring toxic metal that can accumulate in the body and cause serious health problems, especially in children and pregnant women. Although lead paint was banned in the United States in 1978 and leaded gasoline was phased out by 1996, lead poisoning remains a serious public health issue. More than a million U.S. children may be lead poisoned from older homes, aging infrastructure, industry, and other sources of lead exposure. Lead contamination can also lower property values.
There is no safe level of lead in the body, and the effects of lead poisoning—which can take years to manifest and aren’t always obvious—are usually irreversible. State and federal laws exist to protect people from exposure to lead, but much of the time, they’re not aggressively enforced. It may be up to the victims of lead poisoning to assert their rights by taking legal action.
Morgan & Morgan’s Toxics and Environmental Litigation Group has a special interest in protecting those who were exposed to lead. Our lead poisoning attorneys have successfully prosecuted lead exposure cases on behalf of individual plaintiffs and classes for property damage, medical monitoring, and personal injury. If you or a loved one tested positive for lead, contact us for a free case review.
Blood Lead Levels Remain a Serious Problem, Despite Progress
In 1984, 17 percent of U.S. preschool children tested positive for excessive blood lead levels. By 2014, thanks in large part to the banning of leaded paint and gasoline, that number was down to 4.2 percent, or around half a million, according to Vox.com. However, some researchers say that the real number of lead poisoned children is probably undercounted by a significant margin, because blood level testing is not required in most states.
Symptoms of Lead Poisoning
Blood testing can determine whether somebody has been exposed to lead. The CDC’s threshold for child lead poisoning is 5 μg/dL (micrograms per deciliter). Anything less than this is considered normal, but it bears repeating that there is no safe level of lead in blood. Even levels as low as 2 μg/dL are associated with mental development problems. For adults, the blood lead threshold is 10 μg/dL.
Unfortunately, lead poisoning is difficult to detect and may not appear until dangerous amounts of lead have accumulated. The symptoms of lead poisoning vary by age group.
- For children and infants, the signs are often related to developmental delays and behavioral issues, such as learning problems, decreased ability to pay attention, slowed growth, and irritability. Children may also show physical symptoms, including fatigue, loss of appetite, speech and hearing problems, weight loss, and abdominal pain.
- In adults, signs and symptoms of lead poisoning include joint and muscle pain, difficulties with memory and concentration, mood disorders, and headache.
- Pregnant women exposed to lead may experience miscarriage, still birth, or premature birth.
Did somebody in your household test positive for lead poisoning? Talk to a lawyer to find out your legal options.
Sources of Lead Poisoning
Lead has been mined and used by humans for thousands of years. While it is mostly banned for consumer uses in the U.S., industrial uses continue, and lead can also be found in older products and products imported from other countries. Lead may be present in the air, soil, water, and even inside the home.
Once blood testing confirms lead poisoning, it is crucial to identify the source of lead exposure to prevent further poisoning. The most common source of lead poisoning is dust and chips from old, lead-based paint. Homes built before 1978 should be presumed to contain lead paint. Lead paint generally isn’t a concern when it is intact. It becomes a concern when it chips and turns to dust, which can then spread to different areas and get into the soil. Suspected lead paint can be tested with a DIY test kit.
Other sources of lead include:
- Drinking water (from old lead pipes and plumbing materials)
- Old ceramics, pewter, antique cookware, pots, etc.
- Emissions from industrial sources, such as secondary lead smelting, mining operations, incinerators, battery recycling facilities, toxic waste sites
- Airports (aviation gasoline)
- “Take home” exposure from industrial workers
- Putty and interior plaster
- Children’s products
- Fishing sinkers
- Face paints
- Imported canned foods
- Imported vinyl mini-blinds
Lead Poisoning Lawsuits
The source of lead exposure determines the potential parties that may be targeted in a lead poisoning lawsuit. In cases where lead poisoning occurs in a property that you rent, another person’s property, or a public place such as a playground or school, you may be able to file a premises liability or personal injury lawsuit against the property owner. If lead poisoning is caused by an industrial facility or waste site, the company in charge of the property might be on the hook for damages. You don’t have to suffer from lead poisoning to file a lawsuit. Diminution of property value from lead contamination may be grounds for legal action.
Potential lead poisoning cases should be evaluated by a lawyer experienced in these types of cases. Kevin Hannon, the Head of Morgan & Morgan’s Toxics and Environmental Litigation Group, is one of the country’s leading toxic lead attorneys.
Kevin has a long history of representing individuals whose property and health were damaged by toxic lead contamination. He served as co-counsel in a property damage class action against the Doe Run Smelter in Herculaneum, Missouri that lasted 13 years and settled for $55 million. He also brought a successful, groundbreaking medical monitoring class action lawsuit for Herculaneum children as a result of the damages from toxic lead. Kevin has additionally prosecuted lead paint exposure cases for individual children in several states.
Suspicions of lead poisoning should be confirmed with a test. If testing shows that lead poisoning has occurred, the next step is to speak with our environmental lawyers. Morgan & Morgan, the nation’s largest personal injury firm, offers free case reviews and accepts all cases on a contingency-fee basis. Get started.