Lead Exposure

Lead is a naturally occurring element that can neither be created nor destroyed through chemical processes. The lead that exists here on Earth has always existed on Earth, and will continue to exist as long as the Earth does. It is the use of lead in products that has resulted in widespread exposure to lead in the United States. Throughout history, lead has been used in everyday products that put people at risk of exposure. It was used in gasoline to reduce engine knocking, to boost octane ratings, and to help with wear and tear in the motor. As a soft and easily shaped metal, it was considered ideal for water pipes. In paint, it helped speed up drying, increase durability, and resist moisture that could cause corrosion. Yet, unfortunately, lead is also toxic to humans and animals, causing permanent brain damage and other health problems.

As scientists learned just how dangerous lead is, it soon became clear that the dangers of potential lead poisoning outweighed the potential benefits of using lead in everyday products. Congress began banning the use of lead in many consumer products, starting with gasoline in 1972, house paint in 1978, and water pipes in 1986. As a result, children are far less likely to be exposed to products containing lead, and far less likely to suffer from lead poisoning.

But children growing up in homes built before 1978, when lead-based paint was commonly used, remain at risk of lead exposure. Because lead cannot be broken down, a home painted with lead-based paint can only truly be lead-safe if the paint is completely removed from the house. Covering lead-based paint with layers of newer paint only masks the danger, as the lead adheres to the paint and comes off when the newer layers flake or peel. These flakes and chips then mix with ordinary household dust and accumulate on the floor and furniture. Lead dust can also be created from friction surfaces such as doors or windows, which tends to spread throughout a residence and can be easily ingested or inhaled.

Although lead is dangerous to all people, young children are particularly vulnerable. Children are more likely to play on the floor, get dust on their hands and toys, and place their hands in their mouths. As a neurotoxin, lead interrupts the development process of the brain during a critical development period for children under the age of six. Finally, children absorb lead more quickly than adults, making even small exposures particularly dangerous for them.

Parents who suspect their child was exposed to lead at a young age should get their children tested as soon as possible. If you or your child tested positive for lead poisoning at a young age, you may be entitled to compensation. Our lead poisoning attorneys have years of experience helping lead-poisoned children get the financial resources they need. Just fill out the website form on this page or call 1-800-659-5349, to get help for your child today.

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