The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls lead poisoning the leading environmental health hazard to kids. While the government has taken steps to eradiate lead by banning it in household paint and placing strict regulations on how much lead products can contain, there are reportedly at least four million homes where children continue to be exposed to lead and consumer goods with too high levels of this toxic metal continue to be sold.
At The Gilbert Law Group®, our lead poisoning lawyers have considerable experience representing families that have suffered because someone was exposed to excessive levels of lead. Please do not hesitate to contact our child injury law firm to request your free case evaluation.
A few products where lead is still proving to be a problem
Toys: Although the government is strict about limiting the total lead content in children’s products—no more than 100 parts per million in accessible parts and no concentration greater than 90 parts per million in any surface coating—this is easier to regulate when the consumer grounds are made in the United States. However, lead content also can still be a problem in older toys (collectibles, antiques) that were made here before regulators began imposing tougher standards. Also, because many toys are made and imported from countries that don’t meet our tougher requirements, this has allowed products containing too much lead to enter the market.
Plastic items: Lead in plastics continues to be allowed in the US. This metal serves as a stabilizer and softener to plastic. However, when plastic is exposed to air, sunlight, and detergents, it can break down, creating lead dust that can be easily ingested.
Toy jewelry: Younger kids like to put shiny, tiny items in their mouth—if it contains high levels of lead, this can prove toxic.
Certain imported candies: Unbelievably, some candy products have been known to contain elevated levels of lead. Exactly how this toxic metal gets into these edible items is unclear. However, the CDC says that imported products with chili powder, tamarind, or salt that were mined abroad are at higher risk of containing lead. Incorrect storing, drying, or/and the grinding of these ingredients are other possible culprits.
Lead and Its Dangers
Inhaling, swallowing, or absorbing lead through the skin can cause this metal to act as a poison—especially when high levels are involved. Kids are especially at risk of serious side effects.
Symptoms of Lead Poisoning:
• Appetite loss
• Behavioral issues
• Problems concentrating
• Abdominal pain
• Pale skin
• Joint and muscle pain or weakness
• Metal taste in the mouth
Long-term effects may include:
• Problems with muscle coordination
• Decreased muscle and bone growth
• Language and speech problems
• Nervous system damage
• Hearing damage
• Kidney damage
• Developmental problems
• Impairment of certain brain functions
• Attention hyper activity disorder (ADHD)
Adults can also suffer from lead poisoning, potentially experiencing irritability, dizziness, concentration problems, weakness, and injury to the heart, kidneys, endocrine system, and reproductive system.