In the past few decades, awareness of the dangers of lead poisoning and lead exposure have resulted in changes to the law regarding safety precautions in housing and other buildings. Furthermore, some people are now filing lawsuits based on a landlord or property owner’s failure to take reasonable precautions regarding exposure to lead paint and dust.
What Is Lead Exposure?
When people take in lead dust or fumes through contamination of the hands, food, water, cigarettes or even by breathing the dust from their clothing, they may be exposed to toxic levels of this substance. Lead migrates to the bones where it is stored and can later be given off into the bloodstream, sometimes long after the initial exposure.
What Are The Adverse Effects of Lead Exposure?
Lead is toxic to the human body. It affect all organs and body functions and can even cause death in extreme cases. The amount of exposure and the frequency with which the body is exposed to lead have a direct impact on the degree of harm.
Lead exposure can cause the following health problems:
- Neurological effects, including nerve damage, fatigue, irritability, loss of concentration, loss of hearing, seizures and encephalopathy
- Gastrointestinal problems including nausea, constipation, colic and a “lead line” on gum tissue
- Reproductive effects including miscarriages, stillbirths, reduce sperm count, abnormal sperm growth and motility
- Anemia and other blood disorders
- Kidney problems and hypertension
How Much Lead is Dangerous?
Studies have determined that any amount of lead exposure above 80 µg/dL as measured in the bloodstream can lead to serious, permanent health damage and is extremely dangerous. Anything above 40 µg/dL is a serious problem, and between 25 and 40 µg/dL indicates regular exposure. Adults in the United States should ideally have less than 10 µg/dL of lead in their bloodstreams at any time.
Federal Law Regarding Lead Exposure
Anyone who works with construction is required to understand the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s General Industry Lead Standard, located at 29CFR1910.1025, as well as the Construction Lead Standard at 29CFR1926.62. New York requires labs to report any elevated blood lead levels to the New York State Department of Health.
What Are the Treatment Options?
The most important thing to do if lead is found in the bloodstream is to discontinue exposure. Individuals may need therapeutic chelation, which involves giving the victim drugs that bind with the lead so that it is excreted in the urine. This treatment can have negative side effects, however.
What Are The Sources of Lead Exposure?
Most of today’s lead exposure occurs on the job, and employers have a duty to protect their employees from undue exposure to lead. Construction workers are particularly vulnerable, especially the ones who work on old houses or buildings.
Some hobbies, such as pottery or stained glass making, may also increase your risk of lead exposure. Even some “health foods” or folk remedies contain large amounts of lead.
What Can I Do If I Have Been A Victim of Lead Exposure?
Contact the Fitzgerald Law Firm if you believe you have been exposed to lead. You may be entitled to compensation from the responsible party.