Is it possible that you or your children have been exposed to high levels of lead over an extended period? Then you may be entitled to compensation for your medical expenses and other damages. The Houston lead poisoning lawyers at the accident and injury law office of Terry Bryant can help. Contact us today by calling our office or filling out our FREE initial consultation form.
Lead poisoning is not only harmful to children and adults; it remains a major, ongoing environmental health problem in the United States, according to the EPA. Lead has adverse effects on many organ functions, such as the central nervous, cardiovascular, renal, digestive, and autoimmune systems.
Anyone can suffer from lead poisoning, but the effects are most prominently wrought on children from years of exposure. Lead can limit their ability to live a vibrant, vigorous life and to have healthy families as adults. The destructive effects of lead poisoning cross all cultural barriers.
Lead’s Toxic Properties Invade Every Organ and System in the Human Body
Exposure to lead becomes a danger to anyone’s health when it is swallowed or inhaled. There are numerous ways in which lead can invade the body in your home or workplace.
Common items that may contain lead include:
- Lead-contaminated dust – These microscopic lead particles are easily absorbed by the human body, especially through the lungs.
- Paint peelings (from pre-1978 paint) – Small children have been known to eat these paint flakes, and, over time, peelings can be finely ground into toxic dust.
- Leaded gasoline fumes (or lead gasoline additives).
- Soil – Especially on property which is or was used for manufacturing or other industrial purposes.
- Drinking water – Especially if it runs through a community, home, or building’s aging lead-piped plumbing system.
- Older furniture (with its components of paints and varnishes).
- Some food or liquid containers.
Even though, by and large, the use of lead has been discontinued in the U.S. for over 40 years, it is estimated that there are still three million tons of lead in our environment and 57 million housing units that still contain some amount of lead paint. Most housing built before 1978 may still contain some lead paint. Homes built before 1950 are all but certain to have lead, due to the existence at the time of pre-WWII paints’ even higher lead concentrations. In fact, in January 2018, a Bronx family was awarded $57 million in a judgment against New York City’s Housing Authority after a jury found the agency responsible for a child’s lead poisoning.
Symptoms of Lead Poisoning
According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms of lead poisoning can take years to detect. Levels don’t generally become detectable until dangerous amounts have already built up in a person’s body, and it’s virtually impossible to eradicate lead from one who is infected by it.
Lead poisoning can present the following symptoms in children and adults:
- Challenges with memory and concentration
- Brain damage
- Hearing problems
- High blood pressure
- Hyperactivity (in young children and many adults)
- Muscle and joint pain
- Nerve disorders
- Slowed physical growth in children; producing undersized adults, many with chronic anemia
- A variety of gastrointestinal diseases, including cancers
- Premature, lower birth-weight babies
- Female reproductive problems (such as miscarriage, stillbirth, or premature birth) and lower sperm counts in men
- If undetected or left untreated, lead poisoning often leads to early death.
Who’s Responsible for Lead Poisoning?
Landlords must notify tenants that a rental unit might contain lead. People who are selling their home have the same obligation to potential buyers. If either a landlord or seller knew or should have known that lead was present, but did not warn, they can be liable for the damages that result from exposure.
In the workplace, though Texas worker’s compensation will typically pay for the injured worker’s medical expenses and some of their lost income, it will not pay for pain and suffering and other non-economic damages. Because workers are not usually able to sue an employer who subscribes to workers’ comp, an injured plaintiff is best served by retaining a seasoned lead poisoning attorney who will identify exceptions to this restriction or the liability of a third party not protected by workers’ comp.
Small children – especially toddlers – always put objects in their mouths. It’s how they explore the world around them. But when children put lead-containing objects in their mouths, over time they can suffer serious lead poisoning. Around 10 years ago, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) banned the use of ALL lead in children’s products. And yet, toy jewelry containing unsafe levels of lead is still manufactured, mostly overseas and then imported and sold. Other products containing lead which are easily accessible by children and have also been banned include crayons, chalk, clothing, and some child-centric products which are painted with lead-based paint.
If you can prove your child was exposed to lead through no fault of your own, you have the legal right to seek financial compensation. However, suing a landlord or distant third party by proving that they should have known about their property’s toxic lead dangers requires the skill of an experienced attorney. This is especially true when a federal, state, or local government agency may be involved.
Manufacturers or sellers can be held accountable for their products that contain lead, despite the warnings (and subsequent laws) banning the lead-associated product’s sale to American consumers.
Manufacturers have a high legal duty to protect consumers from the negative, pernicious health effects that victims may suffer. And when they violate that duty, they deserve to be punished by paying fair compensation to their victims. But “defective product” law – which is the basis for filing an injury claim or case – is seldom easy. This is especially true if many have been harmed by a single manufacturer, as different aspects of the law may be involved.
If you and/or your child suffers from symptoms of lead poisoning, seek immediate medical attention. If your suspicions are confirmed, we encourage you to then contact a lead poisoning attorney. The Houston personal injury lawyers with the accident and injury law office of Terry Bryant will fight for the compensation you deserve. Call our office or fill out our FREE case evaluation form.