Long term exposure to lead can cause serious health problems. Lead is toxic to everyone, but unborn babies and young children – especially those younger than 3 – are at the greatest risk because their smaller, growing bodies make them more susceptible to absorbing and retaining lead. Lead is a naturally occurring metal that is used in many products from construction materials to batteries. Many toys and other products manufactured outside the United States have been found to contain lead.
Although there are numerous ways a child can be exposed to lead, children who live in older homes are at a greater risk for lead poisoning. Most commonly, children get lead poisoning from lead-based paint, which was used in many U.S. homes until the late 1970s, when the government banned the manufacture of paint containing lead. Another common route of exposure is drinking water that flows through old lead pipes or faucets.
Each year in the United States, 310,000 children between the ages of 1 and 5 are found to have unsafe levels of lead in their blood. Once lead gets into a person’s system it is distributed throughout the body just like helpful minerals such as iron and calcium. Some of the damaging effects of long-term lead poisoning include: decreased bone and muscle growth; poor muscle coordination; damage to the nervous system, kidneys, and/or hearing; speech and language problems; developmental delay; and seizures.
High levels of lead can cause a wide range of symptoms including headaches; stomach pain; difficulty concentrating; loss of appetite; anemia; sluggishness or fatigue; muscle and joint weakness or pain; and/or seizures. However, many children with lead poisoning show only mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. It is important to eliminate the risk of lead exposure at home and to have young children tested for lead exposure.
Lawyers in the Toxic Torts Section at Beasley Allen are currently investigating potential claims on behalf of children who suffer adverse health effects from prolonged exposure to high levels of lead. If you would like more information or have questions you can contact Chris Boutwell, a lawyer in the Section, at 800-898-2034 or by email at Chris.Boutwell@beasleyallen.com.
Source: Kids Health
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