Where Lead Can Be Found
Lead is a toxic metal that has been widely used in gasoline, construction, mining, manufacturing, and consumer products. Lead runoff from industrial sites has contaminated water supplies, and its use in gasoline created considerable air pollution.
Since the 1970s, government regulation, consumer lawsuits, and public awareness campaigns have drastically reduced the risk of lead poisoning. However, knowing where lead can be found may help eliminate its risk to you and your family altogether.
This article discusses a brief overview of lead contamination, including sources, health risks, regulations, and lawsuits.
Sources of Contamination
Lead contamination can happen in different ways, depending on the source. The following are different methods of lead contamination:
The most prominent sources of lead are in the home. Lead was widely used in paint up until 1978 when lead paint in households was banned. Homes dating from before this time may still contain lead paint. Lead was also commonly used in constructing household plumbing and pipes. This may potentially contaminate a home's drinking water. Many older consumer products and children's toys also contain lead.
Lead can lie hidden in and around a home. Over the years, lead can seep off paint into the soil or turn to dust and coat everyday household items. Clothing, furniture, blankets, and curtains can contain lead in significant enough amounts to pose a health risk. Homegrown flowers and vegetables can also become contaminated.
Air, Water, and Industrial Pollution
You may encounter lead in other places. Because of lead's use in gasoline, mining, and manufacturing, environmental contamination can be a problem in some areas. Some aviation fuels and metal processing facilities can create significant lead pollution in the air. Runoff from mines and factories can contaminate local water supplies and soil. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Superfund, a program for cleaning up hazardous waste sites, lists lead contamination as a major environmental concern.
Lead can pose different risks depending on the group it affects. Below are the differences between age groups regarding lead contamination:
Children under the age of seven are most vulnerable to lead poisoning. They also suffer the most from lead's harmful health effects. Placing objects containing lead in the mouth or swallowing them can lead to anemia, stomachaches, muscle weakness, and brain damage. High lead blood levels can cause children to develop physical, mental, and neurological problems. Lead poisoning has been linked to lower cognitive abilities, lower IQ, reduced academic performance, hearing problems, and an increased rate of attention and behavioral disorders.
Adults can suffer significantly severe effects from lead poisoning. Food, water, worksites, and consumer products can contain significant amounts of lead. Adults can suffer from high blood pressure, nerve disorders, muscle pain, and organ problems. High lead blood levels pose a special risk to pregnant women. Families trying to have children or expecting children should be aware of potential sources of lead around the home and in their lives.
Treatments for lead poisoning are limited. Preventative measures are often the best response. Removing sources of contamination should resolve less serious cases of lead poisoning. Children and adults can undergo lead blood testing to ensure the absence of a contaminant or to monitor their health. More serious cases of lead poisoning may require significant treatment options. The standard treatment for heavy metal poisoning is Chelation therapy.
Regulations and Lawsuits
Strong regulatory efforts have drastically reduced lead poisoning in recent decades. In the late 1970s, around 88% of U.S. children had significant lead blood levels. This rate was reduced to less than 1% by 2012. Today, federal and state governments tightly regulate the use of lead in water supplies and the atmosphere.
Lawsuits have also played a part in reducing the amount of lead in the environment. People suffering from lead poisoning have brought product liability lawsuits against paint manufacturers and construction companies. These lawsuits can recover compensation for people suffering from health problems after being exposed to lead. They have also raised awareness about the dangers of lead and prompted companies to remove dangerous products from the market.
Depending on the state they live in, a plaintiff may be barred from recovery if there is a statute of repose at play. A statute of repose might prevent a liability claim after a certain amount of time. For this reason, it is important to explore your legal options sooner rather than later if you suspect lead contamination from a product.
Found Lead in Your House? Discuss Your Legal Options with an Attorney
While lead is no longer used in paints sold in the United States, there may still be traces of lead in and around your home or in older paint.
If you, or a loved one, were injured and you believe the lead was the culprit, you may want to file a legal claim. To learn more about your potential claim, talk to a products liability attorney near you today.
You Don’t Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.
Contact a qualified product liability attorney to make sure your rights are protected.