New York – New Jersey Toxic Exposure
Toxic exposure and lead paint poisoning are prevalent in our society in many places we go in our everyday lives. In fact, the real dangers from toxic substances are; (1) many of them have found their way into thousands of products as additives and components so that most people aren’t even aware of their presence, (2) most of the injuries and deaths they cause do not manifest themselves until months or even many years after a victim is exposed to them.
Over the past 20 years, hundreds of toxic substances have been linked to short- and long-term health problems, diseases, deaths, miscarriages or birth defects and cancer “clusters,” Unfortunately, many of these dangerous compounds have already found there way into the air we breath as well as foods, vegetation, water and livestock. Also of great concern is the fact that most of these toxins are unknown to consumers since they are only used as ingredients in common products and are not marketed on their own or under their chemical name. Thus, while major oil and chemical spills and nuclear power plant accidents grab the headlines, other far more dangerous toxic exposure situations continue to occur right under our noses.
Some of the more controversial and highly toxic substances include: benzene; cleaning solvents; paint thinners; building materials (Chinese Drywall, asbestos, lead paint, PVC pipes, etc.); insecticides, weed killers (herbicides), pet products and toxic birdseed; Teflon; phthalates (used in thousands of products from toys to cosmetics); toxic airplane cabin air; radiation; oil spills; creosote; carbon monoxide; gas leaks; perchlorate; tobacco smoke; welding rod fumes; “Popcorn” lung (Diacetyl exposure); PCBs; toxic landfills; and toxic mold.
For thousands of years, lead has been formed into pipes, eating utensils, and, more recently, ammunition, batteries, solder. It has also been used as an additive or ingredient in ceramics, fuel, cosmetics, spermicide and paint.
Although the Romans knew that high doses of lead caused madness and death, they continued to use lead cups, plates and armor, unaware of the debilitating effects of chronic exposure to small amounts of lead.
The insidious symptoms of slow, low-level lead poisoning — impaired intellect, memory loss, mood swings, infertility, nerve, joint and muscle disorders, cardiovascular, skeletal, kidney and kidney problems and possibly cancer — were not fully recognized until the late 20th century.
In 1973, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency began phasing out leaded gasoline, a process which took 23 years to complete in 1996.
Lead was banned in household paint in 1978. As a result, according to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, lead levels in the blood of American children have dropped by 86 percent since the late 1970s.
Still, random testing done in states like California and Ohio have found extremely large numbers of children under the age of six to have harmful blood lead levels with only a very small percentage of them having been reported to local health agencies. Lack of awareness and testing are the primary reasons why many children still suffer from the devastating long term effects of lead poisoning. Moreover, recent studies have shown that blood lead levels once thought to be safe, are actually not and pose a risk of harm that was not thought to exist at such low levels.
One of the worst aspects of lead poisoning is that it victimizes young children in poorer neighborhoods and low-income housing where lead-based paints are likely to still be present in older buildings. Paint chips, peeling paint and smaller dust-like particles are inhaled or swallowed by small children.
Landlords, even of buildings owned by a municipality, are responsible for removing lead-based paint especially when they are aware that children are living in the affected apartments. However, in most cases the landlord has chosen to ignore the problem in order to avoid the expense of removing old layers of lead-based paint and repainting the apartments.
We are very familiar with this type of case and the terrible injuries that can be suffered by the children involved.
If you have been the victim of lead paint poisoning or toxic exposure, please contact us for a free consultation. We’re available at our New York and New Jersey offices to answer your questions 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.