According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), lead in paint is the most common source of lead poisoning for children. Children who live in homes built prior to 1978 may suffer lead poisoning if they ingest chips of lead-based paint or dust.
In addition to paint, objects, such as toys, contain lead and in some instances contain levels of lead that can pose a serious health risk to children.
Children (age seven and younger) are at an increased risk of developing learning disabilities associated with lead poisoning. Even low levels of lead can block an infant’s mental development.
If not detected early, children with high levels of lead in their bodies can suffer from:
- Behavior and learning problems (such as hyperactivity)
- Slowed growth
- Damage to the brain and nervous system
- Hearing problems
Excessive levels of lead in the body may also be harmful to adults, who can suffer from:
- Difficult pregnancies
- Reproductive problems (in both men and women)
- High blood pressure
- Digestive problems
- Nerve disorders
- Memory and concentration problems
- Muscle and joint pain
Although the Federal Government banned lead paint in residential homes, multiple layers of paint remain in homes built before 1978. Lead poisoning has also been reported when homes containing lead-based paint are remodeled or renovated without the precautions taken.
Under the Philadelphia Lead Paint Disclosure and Certification Law, it is the landlord’s responsibility to ensure that a home is safe for a child to live in, and liable for any harm that may come to a child as a result of a landlord failing to care for a home. Specifically, and effective as of December 21, 2012, the Lead Paint Disclosure and Certification Law, as it is known, requires landlords to certify that a home is lead safe for a child under the age of six to live in, before that child moves in. The law applies to homes built before 1978, when the United States banned the use of lead based paint in residences. Philadelphia’s law and its “lead safe certification” means that not only did the landlord visually inspect the home to ensure there is no chipping, peeling, or defective paint in the home, but also tested samples of dust in the home to assess any potential lead dust hazard. A landlord is required to do these assessments every time a new tenant with a child under the age of six moves into the home, and every two years while a child under the age of six continues to reside in the home. In addition, a landlord must promptly repair or remove any chipping, peeling, or defective paint reported by a tenant, or risk losing certification.
The certification process is important, because preventing children from being exposed to chipping, peeling, and defective lead based paint and lead dust in the home is the best way to prevent childhood lead poisoning. Landlords who rent a home to a family with a child under the age of six and fail to certify that the home is lead safe risk losing their rental license and may face other penalties. More importantly, a landlord who fails in their duty to certify can be held liable for any lead poisoning that comes to the child residing in the home.
If a landlord fails to comply with the Lead Paint Disclosure and Certification Law, claims can be brought on behalf of children who have suffered lead poisoning. Because children exposed to lead paint may suffer mild to moderate brain damage, these children are entitled to be compensated by those responsible for the poisoning.
If your child or someone you know has been exposed to lead paint, we can help you. Call Moriconi Flowers Ltd. now for a free case evaluation.