Lead is a heavy metal that is found in some paint, toys, and older buildings. Although the Lead-Based Paint Poisoning Prevention Act of 1971 has heavily restricted how lead is used in manufacturing and construction, it is still possible for individuals to become exposed to this hazardous substance.
People can become poisoned by lead if the blood becomes saturated with dangerously high levels of the metal. If you believe you may have lead poisoning, it’s essential to seek the guidance of a medical professional to test your blood. Doctors treat lead poisoning by preventing further exposure to the substance and by prescribing medications that help remove lead from the bloodstream.
Signs and Symptoms of Lead Poisoning
Individuals with lead poisoning may not present any symptoms at first. While people of any age group are susceptible to various health problems associated with lead poisoning, children often experience more severe symptoms. Here are a few of the most common signs of lead poisoning:
1. Abdominal Pain and Digestive Problems
Experiencing discomfort in the abdomen is one of the most common signs of lead poisoning. In more severe cases, lead poisoning can contribute to nausea, constipation, or vomiting. Patients with lead poisoning may also report having a diminished appetite.
2. Memory Impairment and Neurological Symptoms
In children, lead poisoning can inhibit learning and possibly contribute to developing mental disorders later in life like depression or schizophrenia. Adults with lead poisoning may have difficulty concentrating or experience reduced mental acuity. Exposure to especially high levels of lead can cause individuals to hallucinate, too.
3. Fertility Complications
Lead poisoning causes various issues in the reproductive organs of both males and females. For men, lead can decrease sperm count and negatively impact sperm mobility. Women with lead poisoning have an increased risk of miscarriage or premature birth.
Lead poisoning can shorten the lifespan of red blood cells, potentially leading to anemia. Individuals with anemia have trouble circulating adequate oxygen throughout the body due to poorly functioning red blood cells. Anemia can cause headaches, rapid heartbeat, and breathing difficulties. Individuals with anemia also report feeling tired, weak, or light-headed.
5. Connection to Parkinson’s Disease
By checking for unique epigenetic alterations to DNA, scientists have identified a correlation between prolonged lead exposure and the development of Parkinson’s. While this research does not demonstrate that lead poisoning is the underlying cause of the disease, it does indicate that those exposed to lead over a longer period have a higher risk of developing symptoms.
Legal Action Taken Against Lead Poisoning
In one well-known case, thousands of individuals in Flint, Michigan, were exposed to lead in the city’s drinking water between 2014 and 2015. In response, Flint residents filed a lawsuit against the state and have subsequently won initial approval for a settlement of over $640 million. The majority of the settlement will go to survivors who were 18 years old or younger when the contamination occurred.
Lead poisoning through accidental contact, environmental contamination, or industrial manufacturing can cause serious health problems. An example of exposure is if you came into contact with lead paint while living in a New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) building or while you or a loved one was a worker at the Gopher Resource Plant in Tampa, Florida (#ToxicGopher). If you or a loved one recently developed lead poisoning, there are legal options that are available to you.
Napoli Shkolnik can help. We can connect you with an environmental litigation lawyer who is dedicated to protecting public health and the environment.
To learn more about the legal actions you can take in response to lead poisoning, contact Napoli Shkolnik for a free case evaluation.