The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has identified the week of October 23 – October 29 to be National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week in an effort to raise awareness about the dangers of lead poisoning. Materials are available to educators and the public to help spread the word about the hazardous effects that lead exposure can have in children of all ages — particularly children under six years of age. [The EPA has since removed these resources from their official website.]

Damaging effects of lead poisoning

Lead poisoning can cause serious, irreversible health problems in children such as learning disabilities, behavioral problems, irritability, aggression, headaches, and digestive problems. The CDC has determined any child with a blood lead level of 5 micrograms per deciliter is at risk for serious injury and therefore urges parents to have their children’s blood tested for lead exposure.

Sources of lead poisoning

Children can be exposed to lead through lead-based paint, drinking water, or soil. If you live in a home that was built prior to 1978, the CDC urges you to have the paint and dust in your home tested for lead. The federal government banned the use of lead-based paint in 1978, however, lead paint could still be present in your home under several layers of newer paint. For this reason, the CDC recommends lead testing of your home.

Drinking water could also contain dangerous amounts of lead. Water service lines and household plumbing could be made out of lead. Lead in the pipes could leach into the water that flows through them and expose children to dangerous levels of the metal. Experts indicated the lead poisoning epidemic in Flint, Michigan was caused by corroded city pipes that leached lead into the drinking water of tens of thousands of residents.

Lead poisoning can also occur through contact with contaminated soil. In East Chicago, Indiana, residents and their children have been exposed to toxic levels of lead in the soil surrounding their homes for decades according to EPA reports. The problem is so serious that the Mayor of East Chicago sent letters to more than 1,000 residents in July 2016 evicting them from their homes. The EPA placed signs around the housing complex urging residents to keep their children out of the dirt and began placing mulch on the ground to temporarily remediate the effects of the high lead concentration found in the soil. Concerned parents are filing lawsuits against the City of East Chicago and other parties for failing to advise them of the dangerous levels of lead in the soil and exposing their children to the effects of lead poisoning. Cohen & Malad, LLP attorneys are representing more than 100 children who have been exposed to lead and its toxic effects.

Prevent lead poisoning

Parents can protect their children from the effects of lead poisoning by having their children’s blood tested for lead exposure, having their home tested for lead-based paint, and even removing any recalled toys or jewelry that contains lead. According to doctors, foods that are high in calcium, iron, and vitamin C such as milk, yogurt, red meat, peanut butter, and oranges can also help keep lead out of the body.  

For more information about Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, please visit the CDC’s website. If you live in East Chicago, Indiana, and would like more information about the lead poisoning lawsuits, contact us.