Lead paint or lead-based paint is a type of paint which contains lead, a heavy metal whose toxicity was unknown until 1977. In the past, lead was added to paint as a pigment, as well as an agent which expedited drying, resisted moisture, maintained a fresh appearance, and increased the durability of the paint. Today, exposure to lead paint chips or lead paint dust, particularly by young children, may cause catastrophic, life-threatening injuries.
Although putting lead in paint may improve the performance of the paint, the metal also has the potential to cause significant damage to individuals who are exposed to the toxic substance, particularly children aged six and younger whose bodies and nervous systems are still developing. Lead paint can cause a number of serious complications in children, including:
Lead paint poses the most risk for young children, but adults may also suffer medical consequences resulting from exposure to lead paint, particularly reproductive problems, nerve disorders, high blood pressure, joint and muscle pain, and problems with memory and concentration. Although lead paint has been prohibited in the United States since the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission banned its use in 1977, lead is still added to paint for domestic use in some countries, and lead paint may still be found in older homes and buildings constructed before the lead paint regulation was enacted.
The U.S. CPSC regulation regarding lead-containing paint and furniture and toys painted with lead paint was introduced largely in an attempt to prevent lead poisoning in children. Although lead is believed to cause the most problems in children who eat the sweet-tasting lead paint chips, toxic lead exposure can also occur simply by unknowingly breathing in lead-contaminated dust which has been generated from deteriorating paint, or disturbed during painting or remodeling. Even removing lead paint from your home improperly can put you and your family at a significant risk of serious harm.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, any building constructed before 1978 may have paint that contains lead both on the inside and the outside of the building. In fact, the U.S. EPA estimates that lead paint can be found in 24% of homes built between 1960 and 1978, 69% of homes built from 1940 to 1960, and 87% of homes built before 1940. According to federal law, any contractors renovating, painting or repairing a structure built before 1978 in which more than six square feet of paint will be disturbed, must be certified and trained in specific practices in order to prevent toxic lead paint contamination.
Lead paint exposure may result in serious consequences, including behavioral problems, seizures, learning disabilities, organ damage and death, particularly in children. Unfortunately, according to the U.S. CPSC, as many as one out of every eleven children in the United States has high concentrations of lead in their bloodstream. In fact, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that even though lead poisoning has dramatically declined in the United States over the last twenty years, the consequences of lead paint exposure affect approximately 890,000 preschool-aged children. In addition, the CDC has determined that about 4.4% of children ages one to five have too much lead in their bodies.
If you or a loved one has suffered from serious injury and you believe lead paint to be the cause, contact a defective product attorney as soon as possible. You may be entitled to reimbursement for your injuries and a knowledgeable defective product lawyer can inform you of the benefits associated with filing a defective product lawsuit. A number of lawsuits have already been filed by individuals who have suffered serious injury resulting from lead paint exposure. In some cases, adults and children have been exposed to the dangerous substance simply by living in their home, even though they were originally told the building was lead paint-free. The goal of defective product lawsuits is to seek financial compensation for injuries, the medical expenses resulting from injury treatment and care, and the pain and suffering sustained by victims and their families. With the help of a defective product attorney, victims of lead paint poisoning can collect the compensation they deserve.