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Lead poisoning is a serious condition that can cause severe illness and developmental delays in children. Lead was a common additive in paint for decades before it was banned for residential use in 1978. Even though lead paint was banned in the United States, many existing buildings had already utilized the toxic substance. As a result, children who live in buildings where lead paint is on the walls or lead paint dust is in the building can suffer lead poisoning if they ingest paint chips or paint dust. However, there are many other ways that both children and adults can suffer lead poisoning. If you or your child suffered an injury because of exposure to lead, you should speak with an attorney immediately to determine your legal rights.
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Common Causes and Symptoms of Lead Poisoning
Most lead poisoning cases are the result of ingestion of lead paint dust or chips. Lead was often added into paint in an effort to make the paint dry faster before the toxic effects of lead were fully understood. It was previously thought that lead paint could only be toxic if the paint chips were ingested, but recent studies have shown that ingestion of paint dust that has been sanded off walls can also cause injuries. Lead poisoning can also be caused by exposure to lead in the workplace, most often in manufacturing plants. Lead can also seep into the ground and groundwater, polluting the drinking water and soil.
The initial symptoms of lead poisoning in adults could easily be mistaken as some other type of illness. They include headaches, abdominal pain, weakness, memory loss, and paresthesia (tingling in the extremities). In acute lead poisoning situations, either caused by prolonged exposure or by exposure to high levels of lead, the victim can lapse into a seizure or a coma. These effects can be deadly. In children, the symptoms are different. Children who are exposed to lead exhibit symptoms such as loss of appetite, vomiting, constipation, behavioral problems, and lethargy.
The Serious Effects of Lead Poisoning on Children
Children under the age of six are particularly susceptible to lead poisoning. Because their bodies are smaller and still developing, children absorb lead into their bodies at a much faster rate than adults. This means that the same exposure of lead will result in a much higher level of lead toxicity in children than in adults. Children experience serious developmental problems as a result of lead exposure, including developmental delays, language delays, and mental retardation. Further exacerbating the concern, lead paint tends to have a sweet taste, causing curious children to put lead paint chips and lead paint dust in their mouths.
When You Should Hire an Attorney for Your Lead Paint Claim
If you or your child suffered an injury because of exposure to lead, you may be able to file a claim for compensation. Property owners are required by law to properly certify whether or not a residential building has been properly de-leaded. The attorneys at Duffy & Duffy can help you with your personal injury lawsuit if you believe you or your child suffered lead poisoning.
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