Despite extensive efforts to reduce chemical exposure, Pennsylvania is still suffering from a lead paint crisis. Approximately 13,000 children in Pennsylvania have been diagnosed with lead poisoning after significant levels of lead were found in their blood. Although lawmakers have enacted stringent regulations regarding lead abatement and disclosure, lack of funding has limited their effect. Without proper enforcement of these rules, protecting the state’s young population is difficult. Ingesting or inhaling lead can lead to irreparable neurological damage in young children, including lowered IQ, developmental and behavioral issues.
While the recent water crisis in Flint, MI has raised national awareness of the danger of lead poisoning, Pennsylvania has been grappling with this issue for many years. About one in ten children in the Keystone state have tested above the threshold for intervention recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In some counties, the rate of lead poisoning is much higher; 36% of children tested in Warren, Pennsylvania have elevated lead levels, compared to five percent in Flint. The actual rate of lead poisoning is believed to be much higher, as only about 25% of Pennsylvania children are tested.
It is not only children who are at risk. Workers in mining and construction have shown increased rates of lead poisoning, which can lead to devastating health problems. Elevated lead levels in adults can result in anemia and kidney disease, and is thought to play a role in neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, more commonly known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease. Lack of workplace safety protocols may make these industries more vulnerable to lead poisoning.
Legislators Working to Protect Pennsylvania’s Citizens
Lead paint was banned for indoor use in the United States in 1978. Unfortunately, approximately 70% of Pennsylvania homes were built before the ban, including 95% of Philadelphia homes. Lead paint is also still found on many outdoor structures throughout the state and can contaminate the soil in some areas. Pennsylvania lawmakers are taking cues from other areas that have similar risks but have managed to dramatically reduce their lead problem.
Rental properties in many Pennsylvania municipalities are now required to disclose the risk of lead exposure, and recent proposals have been introduced to extend disclosure requirements to water lines, schools, and child care centers. There have also been calls to adopt the CDC’s threshold for intervention. Currently in Philadelphia, a child’s blood lead level must reach 10 micrograms per deciliter, twice the CDC threshold, before the government will intervene.
Lack of Funding Cripples Lead Safety Projects
The only comprehensive solution to reducing the risk of lead poisoning is to renovate all homes and water lines that could be a source of exposure, but funding for these projects is incomplete and often unreliable. While testing for lead is relatively inexpensive, lead abatement can cost between $4,000 and $8,000 for most homes. Many landlords are unwilling to spend the money, and the state does not have the resources to thoroughly investigate landlords who may be lying about testing or whether small children reside on their property. Some landlords will go so far as to discourage families with young children from renting units.
Lead, much like asbestos, can be hiding in plain sight, but exposure can have catastrophic consequences. According to the CDC, there is no safe level of lead exposure. When property owners fail to safely remove lead, it puts everyone at risk, particularly small children. If you or a loved one has suffered from lead poisoning, an experienced chemical exposure lawyer can help you review your legal options to get the compensation to which you are entitled.
Philadelphia Toxic Exposure Lawyers at Shein Law Advocate for Victims of Lead Poisoning
The Philadelphia toxic exposure lawyers at Shein Law have the knowledge and experience to handle all types of chemical exposure cases, including lead. Our team is dedicated to obtaining the maximum compensation for those who have suffered serious illness or cognitive development issues due to lead exposure. With offices conveniently located in Philadelphia and Pennsauken, we represent clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Call us today at 877-SHEINLAW (743-4652) or contact us online to discuss your case with an experienced chemical exposure lawyer.