It may shock you to learn that lead poisoning still remains the number one environmental hazard for children, who can suffer from irreversible cognitive deficit issues, as well as problems related to hearing, speech, organ damage, and even death as a result of lead accumulation in the body. In spite of national attention brought to the issue in cities like Flint Michigan as well as the passage of local and national policies aimed at reducing the prevalence of lead poisoning, a recently-released study found that severe cases are still occurring on a regular basis.
Unfortunately, even in spite of existing bans on lead-based paint, the primary source of exposure for children in the U.S. continues to be lead dust from deteriorating lead paint. Major risk factors identified in the study included eating paint, spending time or being born outside of the U.S., where a ban might not be in place (for example, in countries such as Pakistan), being developmentally delayed, and suffering from a sickle-cell disease. In some cities, this appears to correlate with children who are of Asian or African-American descent who are also living in housing that was built prior to 1940.
This year, several lawsuits were filed against private parties who are allegedly responsible for exposing local populations to lead. For example, one community filed a lawsuit earlier this year for lead poisoning related to the operation of a gun range and the city officials who allegedly covered up issues related to lead dust and its release into the community. Instead of alerting the local community to the issue, the local government simply closed the gun range. Individuals associated with lead-related issues from the range have not only suffered from lead poisoning themselves, but their children are now also suffering as a result of the issue. Meanwhile, many others in the community were not able to obtain testing early enough because they were not alerted to potential lead exposure by trusted city officials.
Also earlier this year, the Louisiana Supreme Court upheld a payment in association with a class action lawsuit accusing the Housing Authority of New Orleans of allowing tenants to be exposed to lead poisoning. Specifically, the company associated with the housing–HANO–was previously found guilty of failing to remove lead from its public housing properties, as required by federal law. By failing to do so, the company jeopardized the health of thousands of children. The case was initially settled by the insurance companies for HANO for $100 million, some of which were to be placed in guardianships for those children under the age of 17 who were affected.
Environmental Hazard Attorneys Working To Protect Children
Lead remains a serious threat to our families and our children, especially in particular areas where communities may be living in older housing. It is unacceptable to allow these actors—whether they are private companies or local governments—to poison local communities and fail to take basic measures to alert those people who may be affected to the dangers of lead poisoning.
At Harrell & Nowak, we’ve spent years litigating against these negligent parties, serving communities in New Orleans, Metairie, Kenner, and other areas throughout Louisiana and helping them to obtain justice. Contact us today for a free consultation and we will get started helping you.