What is the danger of lead paint?

The sale of lead paint was banned in 1978, but lead paint still poses a hazard, particularly to young children. In New England and across the country, children can ingest lead by the mere act of touching surfaces in the home, such as windowsills that contain leaded dust or deteriorating lead paint, and then placing their lead-covered fingers in their mouths.

Where are people usually exposed to lead paint?

Lead may be found in many products and locations, including a lot of places you might not imagine, such as some imported candies, toys and traditional medicines. Dust and chips from old paint are the most common toxic substances in the home containing lead. Some non-paint sources, though less common, can cause severe cases of lead poisoning. Lead can be found in the following household items and commonly visited places:

  • Paint (older homes, old toys, furniture, crafts)
  • Imported candies or foods
  • Lead-glazed ceramics, china, leaded crystal, pewter
  • Dust
  • Soil
  • Drinking water
  • Air
  • Children’s jewelry
  • Workplace
  • Firearms with lead bullets
  • Mini-blinds
  • Other common sources of lead (car batteries, radiators, some inks, etc.)

A corporation whose workers are exposed to lead paint in the workplace may be held liable in a toxic tort lawsuit if a worker is diagnosed with lead poisoning.

Which illnesses are linked to lead paint?

Exposure to lead paint causes high levels of lead in the body. The lead interferes with a variety of the body’s functions and is toxic to the heart, bones, intestines, kidneys, and reproductive and nervous systems. It interferes with the growth of the nervous system, making it especially toxic to children and triggering learning and behavior disorders. Symptoms of exposure to high levels of lead paint include abdominal pain, confusion, headache, anemia, irritability and, in severe cases, seizures, coma and death.

What effect does lead paint poisoning have on children?

High levels of lead poisoning can cause learning disabilities, a lower IQ, language difficulties, motor problems and behavioral problems, such as hyperactivity and attention deficit disorder. It is estimated that one out of every 27 children in Massachusetts under the age of 6 has a blood lead level high enough to cause a decrease in intelligence, physical growth and hearing.

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