The recent controversy involving New York City Housing Authority developments has placed lead paint poisoning back at the forefront of public attention. However, lead paint exposure is still a prevalent concern for young children living in any older home or apartment.
While lead-based paints were banned for use over 35 years ago, leaded paint that was used prior to that time was not removed. That has created a potential hazard in all older homes and apartments where leaded paint continues to remain in the old residual paint that has been painted over numerous times. The exposure can occur by eating paint chips or by inhaling lead particles that become airborne. Children under the age of 6 years old are more susceptible to being poisoned because they tend to put their hands or other objects into their mouths. Lead is also sweet and this entices children to put it in their mouth. Although all children can be affected by lead poisoning, it is children living at or below the poverty line who live in older housing that is not being properly inspected and repaired who are at the greatest risk.
New York Public Health has defined lead poisoning as occurring at a blood lead level greater than or equal to ten (10) micrograms of lead per deciliter of whole blood. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recognized that there is no safe blood lead level in children. Because lead poisoning often occurs with no obvious signs or symptoms, it frequently goes unrecognized by parents or caregivers. Lead is a potent neurotoxin and exposure can affect nearly every system in the body. It disrupts a child’s brain development during critical periods of growth and can cause lasting effects in all aspects of development.
All children have the right to live in a clean, healthy, and safe environment. Under New York City Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Action (Local Law 1 of 2004) owners are required to visually inspect apartments in buildings built prior to 1960 (or between 1960-1978 if they know lead paint exists) where a child under the age of six resides. Due to the negligence in which many landlords maintain, inspect and repair older homes and apartments, each year children become lead poisoned. Usually, a child will be diagnosed with an elevated blood lead level during a routine blood exam. If the lead level is higher than 10 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood, your child’s physician will contact the Department of Health in the County where your child resides and the County will inspect your child’s residence for lead paint hazards. The County will then notify
the landlord of their findings and demand immediate remedial action. Repairs should only be undertaken by trained workers using safe work practices. Unsafe work practices can cause further injury to those already harmed.
In the event that your child has been lead poisoned, you should immediately consult with an
experienced premises liability attorney. You may have a case to obtain compensation for your child’s pain and suffering, diminished future prospects and earning capacity as well as medical expenses. An experienced premises liability attorney is familiar with the different laws and regulations throughout New York State. The law firm of Sullivan Papain Block McGrath & Cannavo has recovered millions of dollars on behalf of children who have been lead poisoned.
 Laws and regulations vary according to the jurisdiction in which your child resides.