Lead Exposure 101

Exposure to lead can be extremely dangerous to you and your family, even if you are living in a newer home. Keeping your kids safe from lead poisoning is vital as it can lead to serious complications.

What Are The Hazards of Lead?

Lead can either be ingested or inhaled. The absorption of too much lead by children, particularly those children under the age of 6, can lead to developmental problems such as severe physical complications. This can include damaged kidneys and central nervous systems, interference with blood cell formation and even death.

Children with high blood lead levels are most likely to develop learning disabilities, fine motor coordination issues, a drop in IQ and even ADHD.

How Much Lead is Too Much?

Since the government has banned the use of lead-based paints and plumbing supplies, there has been a dramatic decrease in cases of lead poisoning. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention classifies lead toxicity as blood lead levels (BLLs) of 10 micrograms per deciliter or more. However, there are recent theories that suggest the toxicity level is much smaller and could put children at high risk of developmental problems and cognitive damage.

A study conducted by researchers from Cornell University and the University of Rochester School of Medicine showed that over a 5-year period, children who were exposed to less than 10 micrograms per deciliter of lead showed “intellectual impairment”. Intellectual impairment could be a decrease by amount 5 IQ points.

The proposed amount of exposure is 5 BLLs and will most likely show little to no harm to the child’s health. This limit is definitely attainable without large amounts of efforts on the parents part.

What Causes Exposure to Lead?

Most likely, a child will become exposed to lead in their home. This usually occurs when a child is exposed to paint that is lead-based which was used in older buildings built or painted before 1978. Children may eat the peeling lead paint chips or inhale the particles that have fallen from the ceilings or the walls over the years. Particles may even get on their toys or food that has been store uncovered or on the floors.

How Do I Know If My Home is Hazardous?

Lead dust can exist in the most meticulously maintained homes and may even be a bigger issue in newly finished apartments because of the disturbance to the old lead-based paint. According to CDC research, newly renovated homes that have been repainted may actually be the cause of 10% of all lead poisoning cases in American children. The demographic of lead-poisoned children has made a shift from children of lower-class homes to children of upper-class homes. Children of upper-class homes account for 50% of exposed children while 10 years ago, 90% of cases treated for lead exposure were children of low-income families. This shift is likely due to the fact that higher-income families have the means to renovate their older homes, disturbing the lead-based paint that was previously installed.

Can My Child Get Lead Poisoning Outside the Home?

There are various sources of lead exposure that are outside of your home. Some of which include dirt from sidewalks, parks, playgrounds and building foundations. Exposure is prominent is traffic-congested urban areas. This is potentially due to the amount of residue and fallout from industrial pollution.

What About Lead in Water?

Many cities, including New York, add an anticorrosive called orthophosphate to the water supply to greatly reduce the amount of lead in water found in older buildings. Lead still has the potential to leak in from old pipes and brass fittings on faucets in your building, especially if you are using hot water.

Should I be Concerned?

Urban kids are at a higher risk of exposure to lead than suburban kids are because they are likely to live in an older house with industrial contamination.

If you live in a poorly maintained, inner-city house there is definitely a high concern for lead exposure. A building built before 1978, if the apartment has been renovated and/or if you are doing the renovation, has a high risk of exposure as well. A high content of exposure can also exist in daycares, schools, playgrounds and dirt around homes in an area that is located near high traffic roads. Also, there should be major concern if your child’s BLL level is 5 or higher.

A child’s exposure to lead can result in cognitive damage and severe developmental issues. If your child has lead poisoning, you may be able to receive the compensation you deserve. Contact us for a free case appraisal today.

Learn more about lead poisoning by visiting www.parents.com or by clicking here.