People have known of the dangers lead poses to human beings for a very long time. For example, when General Motors and Standard Oil added lead to gasoline in 1924, public health officials decried the move. The government has since taken steps to protect people from exposure to lead. In 1973, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency set standards to begin phasing out leaded gasoline, and the sale of leaded gasoline was completely illegal by 1996. Additionally, in September 1977, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission announced a ban on lead in paint. However, lead still lingers in the environment, and lead poisoning can cause damage to people’s health – especially young children.
Sources of Lead Poisoning
People may come into contact with lead in a variety of ways. Some of the most common sources through which people ingest lead are:
- Lead-based paint, when it chips or flakes in older homes
- Dust containing lead, particularly during renovations where people are removing lead paint
- Soil with lead
- Lead-contaminated drinking water
- Lead-glazed ceramics
- Toys with lead paint
- Imported foods or candies
- Folk medicines
Dangers for Children
Lead exposure can be particularly harmful to children. Children’s bodies absorb more lead than adults, and their developing nervous systems are more sensitive to the effects of lead exposure. Young children are more apt to put their hands and other objects into their mouths, increasing their susceptibility to lead exposure.
Developing fetuses are also particularly vulnerable to the effects of lead. Even extremely low levels of lead exposure can cause damage to children still in the womb.
Lead poisoning is not always immediately apparent, and children may be exposed to lead for a long time before any ill effects manifest. A doctor can administer a blood test to see if a child has dangerous levels of lead in his or her system.
Health Effects of Lead Poisoning in Children
Children may suffer a variety of ill effects from lead exposure, including:
- Nervous system damage
- Behavioral disorders such as hyperactivity and Attention Deficit Disorder
- Learning disabilities
- Stunted growth
- Hearing damage
Lead poisoning can cause irreversible damage to a person’s health. If you or your child has suffered from exposure to lead, contact an experienced lead paint poisoning attorney who can help you receive the compensation you need for your injuries.