Lead Paint - Stunted Growth - Consumer Justice Foundation

Lead Paint – Stunted Growth

Written by Andrew Sarski on March 1, 2011
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Although the use of lead in paint products was banned in 1977, millions of Americans are unknowingly exposed to dangerous levels of lead on a daily basis by living or working in buildings which were constructed before the regulation regarding lead paint was instituted. In fact, according to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates, lead paint can be found in 24% of homes built between 1960 and 1978, 69% of homes built between 1940 and 1960, and 87% of homes built before 1940. Even removing lead paint improperly can expose adults and children to devastating levels of toxic lead. In fact, federal law mandates that any contractor working on a home or building constructed before 1978 in which more than six square feet of paint will be disturbed, must be certified and trained in the correct removal methods in order to prevent toxic lead contamination. One of the many catastrophic side effects associated with exposure to lead paint is stunted growth. Other medical complications include kidney damage, developmental delay, damage to the nervous system, hearing problems, and even death.

Stunted Growth Described

Stunted growth is defined as a reduction of the normal rate of growth in human development. Children who suffer from stunted growth typically fall below the fifth percentile in height for their age, as compared to a growth reference population established by the National Center for Health Statistics. Certain genetic factors sometimes contribute to the abnormal height of a child, but when an individual is said to have an unexpected lack of normal growth, the child is usually suffering from stunted growth.

Lead Paint and Stunted Growth Connection

In the past, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention determined that 30 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood represented the maximum level of lead allowed to be in a person’s body before a health risk was considered. In 1991, the CDC adjusted its stance, suggesting that 10 micrograms actually presented a significant health risk. In 2010, a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine stated that even small amounts of lead in the blood of otherwise healthy children could have serious medical consequences. In fact, although the official level of concern for lead is now 10 micrograms per deciliter of blood, according to experts, children with levels as low as 2.9 micrograms may experience devastating complications, such as kidney failure, developmental delay, nervous system damage and stunted growth.

Exposure to lead inhibits a number of aspects of a child’s development, including physical growth. The reason that lead is so harmful to the human body, especially in young children whose bodies and nervous systems are still developing, is that the heavy metal mimics the actions of calcium, essentially tricking the body into accepting the substance rather than disposing of it. Once the lead enters the bloodstream, it can quite easily enter the cells of critical organs like the brain and kidneys. The lead then interferes with the enzymes these organs require to function properly, potentially resulting in mass organ failure and other major medical tragedies.

Lead Paint Stunted Growth Lawsuits

Unfortunately, many children suffering from stunted growth may never regain the height lost nor the corresponding body weight. Stunted growth can also lead to death later in life resulting from the lack of development of vital organs during childhood. Victims of serious injury resulting from the use of a defective product are not at fault and may be entitled to reimbursement for their injuries. If you or a loved one has suffered from stunted growth associated with exposure to toxic lead paint, contact a defective product attorney as soon as possible to discuss the benefits of filing a defective product lawsuit. The goal of defective product lawsuits is to seek financial compensation for your injuries, the medical expenses associated with treating your injuries, and the pain and suffering sustained by you and your family. With the help of a qualified defective product lawyer, victims of lead paint exposure can examine their legal options and choose the appropriate course of action in order to collect the compensation they deserve.

Posted Under: Lead Paint
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