Lead poisoning is one of the biggest environmental risks to young children, due to its wide use in older paint, plumbing fixtures and gasoline. Lead paint was banned by the federal government in 1978 for use in residential buildings, but remains on many older buildings because it does not decompose. Ingesting or breathing dust created by chipping or peeling lead paint is the main cause of non-occupational lead exposure. In large amounts, lead is a neurotoxin that can cause brain damage and lowered IQ as well as stunted growth, behavior problems, seizures, anemia, kidney problems, reproductive problems, and birth defects. U.S. law requires owners of property built before 1978 to disclose the presence of lead paint to potential renters or buyers.
Lead Poisoning Threatens Pregnant Women
The dangers of lead paint and lead poisoning include a broad range of mental disorders and chronic disabilities. But lead paint and lead poisoning is especially dangerous for women, who run the risk of passing dangerous lead exposure on to developing fetuses while pregnant. Here are some ways that women can experience a safe pregnancy free from the effects of lead poisoning:
Cleanliness is next to godliness…and can help pregnant women escape the dangers of toxic lead exposure. Pregnant women should clean the house when they see the presence of chipping paint or dust – both of which can contain lead particles. Cover chipping paint in your home with duct tape, plastic or contact paper, and vacuum dust whenever possible. A wet cloth will help wash down painted and dusty surfaces, protecting you from lead particles and their potential dangers to you and your fetus.
Hand-washing, while common-sense, is not practiced enough, so be sure to wash up after interacting with soil, which might contain lead toxins, and before preparing food or eating. Wear garden gloves and wash up after dusting or mopping to prevent cross-contamination with your food or water.
Craft With Care
Ceramic and other pottery may have its appeal, but with lead paint posing a very real threat to your fetus, it may be a good idea to avoid ceramic crafts until after your pregnancy. If you must interact with lead-containing pottery or paint during your pregnancy, be sure to wash your hands well afterwards and wear protective clothing. Solder is a bad idea while pregnant, so hand the soldering iron off to another crafty woman during your pregnancy. Change your clothing after working with lead-filled crafts materials and be sure to wash them away from other family members’ garments.
Take Care At Work
Occupational exposure to lead is dangerous for men and women, but pregnant women run the additional risk of lead contamination to their unborn children. If you work with soldering irons, welding materials, lead-based paint, common construction site chemicals and items, or work in a factory setting, you may be putting your fetus at risk. Ask your employer about a transfer to a lower-risk area of the factory, and be sure to wash hands often. Put your work clothing in a separate hamper and wash it separately from other family’s garments. Keep lead-exposed shoes outside of the house and be sure to vacuum well if they go into the house. Educate yourself about the hazards of lead exposure and be certain to talk to your doctor about how your prenatal care can reflect your concern about lead poisoning and lead exposure.
Seek Legal Advice for Exposure
If you have been exposed to lead paint or other lead at work or at home, consult a doctor and then a lawyer. An experienced lead poisoning attorney can help you recover money for the injury, pain and suffering caused by toxic lead paint exposure that affects the health of you and your baby.
Lead Poisoning Linked to ADHD, Other Disorders
Lead paint and lead poisoning have long been known to cause a host of health problems, including hearing loss, stunted body growth, and even reduced I.Q. But new research points to another danger of lead paint and lead poisoning – attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD.
Boys at Greater Risk
The study proved that boys at are a greater risk than girls, pointing to a specific variation in a genetic dopamine receptor (DRD4-7). Children with this genetic variation who have exposure to lead are at a greater risk of developing ADHD. The connection between lead poisoning and attention problems has long been known, and it was this connection that spurred doctors to research a potential link between ADHD and lead poisoning.
Doctors split the children studied into two groups – a high- and low-risk category of DRD4 variation. Though exposure to lead paint and other lead did not seem to increase the risk for children with the high-risk variety, the low-risk group was significantly affected by the presence of lead.
A Series of Disorders
ADHD children are not the only victims of lead poisoning – lead exposure can lead to disorders in almost every part of the body. The nervous system is a common casualty of lead exposure, with reduced strength and inability for different body parts to effectively communicate with one another. The potential for miscarriage is increased by lead exposure, and sperm production can be endangered in men who are exposed to lead paint or particles. Though there is no conclusive proof that lead is carcinogenic (cancer-causing) to humans, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has determined that lead is a potential human carcinogen.
Protecting Children from Lead Poisoning
Children are by far the most vulnerable to lead poisoning. Children ingest lead in a number of ways – through chewing on paint chips in old houses, eating soil or dust that has been contaminated with lead, or biting ceramics or other objects that have been coated in lead-based paint. Young children are at significant risk through their ingestion habits, but fetuses and babies are at risk, too: premature birth and even miscarriage are well-known side effects of lead exposure.
In order to reduce the risk of lead poisoning for children, parents should be vigilant about what goes in their children’s mouth. They should keep close watch on children who chew or lick painted surfaces and keep cosmetics and other lead-based pigments away from children. Frequent hand and face washing can keep lead dust from getting in the mouths and mucus membranes of children. In addition, your child should be tested for lead at one or two years of age.
Legal Options for Lead Poisoning
If you or your child have been injured by lead poisoning, contact a medical professional immediately. You may be liable for damages due to your lead-based medical problems. It is best to consult an experienced lead poisoning attorney who can provide you with legal consultation and support as you litigate your lead poisoning claim. You may be eligible for compensation or damages to help pay for medical bills and pain and suffering.