While officials ignored complaints from apartment residents about potential dangers of chipped paint, a young girl has tested positive for lead paint poisoning. Her family has taken the initial steps in filing a lawsuit against officials.
More Than a Decade of Neglect
According to records obtained by the Wisconsin State Journal, some residents of a University of Wisconsin – Madison apartment complex had complained for more than a decade to housing residents about chipping and peeling paint outside.
In fact, one maintenance request report from 2006 read “paint chips are falling to the ground and could be eaten by children.”
While the apartment complex was renovated during the 2014-15 school year, plans for correcting the problems with the paint were scrapped because other components of the renovation project went over budget.
Victim’s Family Moves In
Just before the young girl’s family moved in to the complex in August 2015, her mother noticed large quantities of chipped paint in their apartment.
“The apartment was new and clean (from the renovation) but right away we noticed that there was a ton of chipped paint in the entrance way,” she said. She even sent an email to housing officials, asking “Will the chipped paint be fixed (in the apartment and on the columns)?”
The girl was a year and-a-half old at the time, and would lean on the paint-chipped columns of the complex to navigate her way to the sidewalk – all the while, putting her hands in her mouth.
A reply from officials to the mother assured her that the “columns would be addressed shortly.” Months went by, however, and nothing was done.
Test Confirm Lead Poisoning
Close to the girl’s second birthday, a routine lead test found that she had a blood lead level of just under 25 micrograms per decileter – that’s nearly five (5) times what the Centers for Disease Control consider to be an elevated lead level.
Finally – Complex is Repainted, After Public Health Officials Become Involved
The young girl’s test results triggered involvement from the Public Health Madison Dane County, which ordered the housing officials to clean up the chipping paint.
Thankfully, maintenance crews did repaint the complex – seven (7) months after the mother’s complaint.
While the girl’s family has not yet filed a lawsuit with UW – Madison, they have filed a notice of claim with the Wisconsin state attorney general indicating they plan to do so.
Why Are Children Especially Vulnerable to Lead Poisoning?
The way that the young girl in the case above frequently put her fingers in her mouth after touching lead paint chips is a classic example of why children are so vulnerable to lead paint poisoning.
The poisoning has been documented to severely affect mental and physical development of children and can even prove to be fatal.
Call The Fitzgerald Law Firm
If you or someone you know has been affected by exposure to lead paint, we’d welcome the opportunity to speak with you.
The first consultation is always free, so call The Fitzgerald Law Firm at 800-323-9900.