There are few things more tragic than seeing an innocent child’s potential cut short due to circumstances beyond their control. Toxic lead poisoning can limit a child’s growth by hampering them with various intellectual and developmental deficiencies. Although the dangers of lead are well known today, many families may not realize that they’ve been exposed until it’s too late.
Children under age 6 experience the most damaging effects. Lead poisoning stays with a child throughout their entire life. These children often require special care in order to keep pace with the rest of society. If you believe your child is suffering from ailments brought on by lead poisoning, our experienced personal injury attorneys can help you acquire the resources your family needs.
Effects of Lead Poisoning
Children who grow up in homes with lead paint are susceptible to many serious health problems, including:
- Developmental delays and learning disabilities
- Loss of appetite and weight loss
- Sluggishness and fatigue
- Abdominal pain
- Hearing and speech impairments
- Behavioral problems
Even low levels of lead exposure can have devastating consequences, especially for young children. Brain development problems are often irreversible.
How Does Exposure Happen?
Lead-based paints used to be popular for use in painting homes, kids toys, and furniture until they were nationally banned in 1978. However, many older home still contain lead-based paint and dust. Many families may be unaware that their homes contain lead.
Children can ingest harmful lead paint in a number of ways:
- Eating pieces of chipped or peeled paint
- Breathing in lead dust
- Putting hands, toys, and other objects coated with lead residue in their mouths
- Crawling on the floor when lead-based dust is present
Lead can also be present in water pipes and soil. Adults who work in construction, auto repair, and other blue collar occupations are at a higher risk of contracting lead poisoning.
New York City’s Lead Paint Law
According to New York’s Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Act, landlords are required to identify and repair lead-based paint issues in multiple dwelling units (e.g. apartment buildings) if children under the age of 6 will be living there.
If a building was built before 1960, it’s presumed that there is lead-based paint in it. Buildings this old must be inspected for families with young children. These owners must follow several safety measures:
- Examine building for lead-based paint and fix any hazards by using trained workers and specified safe work practices, which are outlined in detail in this guide.
- Provide new tenants with forms asking if any children under 6 will be living in the unit. On this form, the owner must certify that he or she has performed the required work to remove lead hazards from the building.
- Provide new occupants with a notice about owner’s legal responsibilities and an informational pamphlet about the dangers of lead.
- Send annual lead notices and window guard notices between January 1-15 to all tenants in buildings constructed before 1960, or between 1960-1978 where lead paint is known to be present.
- Conduct annual investigations in units and common areas where children under age 6 reside.
- Keep records of inspections and any work that has been performed.
- Correct outstanding lead-based paint violations according to the previously mentioned safe work practices.
Property owners who choose not to follow these laws endanger the livelihoods of countless innocent children. It’s important to hold them accountable for allowing greed and laziness to take priority over the development of healthy children in our communities.
Legal Options For Victims
If you suspect that your child has been exposed to lead but you aren’t sure, please don’t hesitate to contact a doctor immediately. While many forms of lead poisoning are irreversible, you can limit the damage if you catch the exposure soon enough.
If test results show that your children have been exposed to lead paint in your New York City apartment building, you have options for seeking justice. A lawsuit can help provide your family with the compensation your child needs, and help hold negligent property owners liable for their cruelty.
The effects of lead poisoning last a lifetime. In order to get through this struggle, your child and the rest of your family will need the right resources. If a negligent landlord failed to identify or remedy your apartment building’s lead paint problem, you may qualify for the following forms of compensation:
- Medical expenses
- Past and future lost wages
- Loss of quality of life
- Pain and suffering
- Punitive damages
Don’t worry about the cost of pursuing legal action. At Banville Law, we offer free consultations and work on a contingency fee basis.