Lead Poisoning Facts

Our understanding of lead poisoning has evolved over time. Where the Center for Disease Control ("CDC") and local health departments once thought varying levels of lead in a body was safe, the CDC now unequivocally states that there is no safe blood lead level in children that has been identified. When chipping and flaking lead based paint is ingested, or lead dust is inhaled, lead enters the blood stream, causing an elevated blood lead level. The lead interferes with the body's ability to produce hemoglobin, leading to anemia. Over time, lead gets absorbed into the body's organs and bones, causing kidney damage. Finally, even low levels of exposure can cause developmental delays, lower IQ, and can cause depression. Children six years of age or younger are especially vulnerable to the effects of lead poisoning, as their growing bodies absorb lead more quickly than adults do, and the lead interrupts their brain development during a critical period.

Lead poisoning has no cure. Chelation can help remove lead from the blood more rapidly, but once lead enters the body, the damaging effects are immediate and lasting. Behavioral problems often become apparent from a young age. Other cognitive damage may not be apparent until a child grows older and has to use certain skills in school that did not develop normally due to earlier exposure. What skills are affected depends on the period of development that was interrupted by the poisoning. Where one lead poisoned child might have math skills severely impacted, another may have a reading or language deficiency. Still others may have difficulty with executive functioning, which is important for planning, organizing, and impulse control. These academic and behavioral problems often result in feelings of isolation in the child, and depression is common among lead-poisoned children.

Childhood lead poisoning also leads to lingering health problems throughout life. Because lead is absorbed into the bones, the lead can be released back into the bloodstream when the child gets older. This re-release can cause further damage to organs and the brain, putting lead poisoning children at higher risk of cancer and stroke, in addition to anemia and kidney problems.

The permanent nature of lead poisoning only heightens the importance of preventing childhood lead exposure in the first place. Children exposed to lead at a young age need a lifetime of educational and emotional support to overcome all the problems caused by their poisoning.

Our lead poisoning attorneys at Levy Konigsberg LLP have decades of experience helping lead-poisoned children. If you or your child has been exposed, please call us at 1-800-659-5349 or fill out the website form on this page to see if you might have a case.

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