Created by FindLaw's team of legal writers and editors | Last reviewed December 05, 2016
What is Lead?
Lead is a highly toxic metal used for many years in products found in and around the home. While there are many sources of lead, one of the most common concerns is lead-based paint found in many older homes. The federal government banned the use of lead-based paint in residential housing in 1978, and some states stopped its use even earlier. However, lead-based paint may still be present in older homes and office buildings.
The Dangers of Lead
Lead is a dangerous substance, especially for young children. Lead can enter the body when someone puts his or her hands or other objects covered with lead dust in their mouths. Lead can also enter the body when someone eats paint chips or soil containing lead, or breathes in lead dust, especially during property renovation projects that disturb painted surfaces.
Babies and young children are more susceptible to lead poisoning because they often put their hands or other objects in their mouths. Their growing bodies also absorb more lead, and their brains and nervous systems are more sensitive to the damaging effects of lead.
If not detected early, children with high levels of lead can suffer from:
- damage to the brain and nervous system
- behavior and learning problems
- slowed growth
- hearing problems
Although less susceptible to lead poisoning than children, adults can suffer from:
- difficulties during pregnancy
- other reproductive problems (found in both men and women)
- high blood pressure
- digestive problems
- nerve disorders
- memory and concentration problems
- muscle and joint pain
Where Can Lead Be Found?
In general, the older your home, the more likely lead-based paint will be found there. Other places and activities where lead can be found include soil, drinking water, on the job, and in certain hobbies.
More information on Where Lead Can Be Found
Protecting Your Family and Home from the Dangers of Lead
If you suspect that there is lead in your home, or that your family has been exposed to lead, there are some steps you can take to ensure their protection:
- Have your children's lead levels measured through a simple blood test.
- Contact a qualified professional to assess the lead content of the paint in your home and/or to assess the risks of serious lead exposure.
More information on Protecting Your Family and Home from the Dangers of Lead
Lead Exposure - Getting Legal Help
If you or a loved one have experienced any dangerous symptoms or unusual medical conditions that might be related to lead exposure, you should first seek immediate medical attention. In the event that you have used products containing lead, or if you are concerned that you and your family have been exposed to lead around the home, you may wish to meet with an experienced attorney to discuss your options and to protect your right to a legal remedy for any injuries caused by lead exposure. To find an experienced attorney, use the "Find a Lawyer" tool on this page, or click here.
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