Over the past few decades, there have been significant measures taken to reduce the risk of poisoning through exposure to lead. Our cars are now required to run on unleaded gasoline. The use of lead-based paint is now banned.
We have limited our exposure to lead for a good reason: lead is a toxic substance that can adversely affect brain development in children, damage the nervous system or kidneys, or even result in death.
Lead is not a substance that simply disappears. It can remain in an environment for years, slowly but steadily building up in the bloodstream and tissue of those who are repeatedly exposed to it, while the victims are usually unaware of the danger that they are in until it is too late.
In North Carolina, lead poisoning has not affected every community equally. Statistics published by the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources indicate that the hardest hit communities are located in the eastern part of the state including Rocky Monut, Edgecombe County; Roanoke Rapids and Weldon, Halifax County; Kinston, Lenoir County; Rocky Mount and Nashville, Nash County; Wilmington, New Hanover County; Greenville, Pitt County; Goldsboro, Wayne County; Wilson, Wilson County. Other communities in the North Carolina piedmont have also seen higher than average numbers of lead poisoned children including Burlington, Alamance County; Durham, Durham County; Winston-Salem, Forsyth County and Greensboro and High Point, Guilford County.
In most North Carolina cases, the lead poisoning was identified as likely coming from exposure to deteriorating paint in older homes. However, there are some cases, particularly in Forsyth County, where the lead poisoning was identified as likely coming from an industrial source. There have also been a few isolated cases of lead poisoning from water that was contaminated by the leaching of lead from plumbing components.
Fortunately, the number of lead poisoned children in North Carolina has dropped dramatically over the last 10 years. This is largely due to the tremendous efforts of many dedicated staff at the North Carolina Children’s Environmental Health Branch and others working within local health departments.
For more information on the North Carolina lead poisoning prevention programs, you may want to contact the North Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program.
We now know that children suffer from permanent brain damage with even extremely small amounts of lead in their blood. The American Academy of Pediatrics calls the situation unacceptable and has called for more action to eliminate this problem once and for all.
Children suffer greatly from exposure to lead. In large doses, this toxin can cause permanent physiological damage, but even in small doses, the effects can last a lifetime. Brain and nerve function in young victims can severely alter a child’s ability to learn and perform.
Teachers reported that students with elevated tooth lead concentrations were more inattentive, hyperactive, disorganized, and less able to follow directions. Additional follow-up of some of those children showed higher rates of failure to graduate from high school, reading disabilities, and greater absenteeism in the final year of high school. Elevated bone lead concentrations are associated with increased attention dysfunction, aggression, and delinquency. You can find more information regarding the health effects of childhood lead poisoning at the U.S. E.P.A. lead poisoning website.
Examples of Lead Contamination
- Paint: Many people believe that the problem with poisoning from lead-based paint must have been solved years ago. Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth. The United States still has 24 million homes with lead-based paint. Over time, lead-based paint slowly chips and flakes, which causes lead dust to float in the environment, putting occupants at great risk.
- Soil: Lead and other heavy metals can easily contaminate soil and groundwater they come into repeated contact with. Areas around foundries or manufacturing plants can easily become contaminated and can remain so for decades. Not only does this lead enter into the environment through disposal of industrial waste, but also through smokestack emissions.
- Water: With the known dangers of lead poisoning, it would seem to be an obvious matter of public safety to replace any municipal water pipes that contained lead. Unfortunately, many cities and towns have simply left old pipes in use, either for cost-cutting measures or because they were sadly unaware that the pipes were in bad condition.
Our Experience With Lead Poisoning Cases
When someone is a victim of lead poisoning, the effects can be long lasting, particularly in children. Child victims often suffer developmental disabilities that can make adjusting to a normal life practically impossible.
Through no fault of their own, the victims of lead poisoning are experiencing pain and suffering, extensive medical bills, and a life that will never be the same. Those responsible for this are playing pass the buck. The manufacturers dispute the science, or the landlords blame the maintenance company, or the attorneys and insurers offer settlements that are a fraction of what is fair or reasonable.
Over the years, Mike Malone has gained a reputation as being a fierce advocate for the rights of those who have suffered from the careless pollution of their environments. He has successfully argued for his lead poisoned clients before state and federal courts and has dedicated his career to helping the victims of lead poisoning receive fair and just treatment.
If your children have suffered from lead poisoning, and you feel that your needs and concerns are not being taken seriously, contact the lawyers at Hendren, Redwine & Malone for a free legal consultation today. Call us toll-free at 866-573-8832.