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Are you at risk of lead poisoning due to a negligent landlord?

If you live in a New York City dwelling that was constructed prior to 1978, your home or apartment probably has some lead-based paint on either the exterior or interior. That can be quite dangerous, especially for young children.

The federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that there are approximately 24 million dwellings here in America with some remnants of deteriorated lead-based paint. There are no levels that are considered safe when it comes to lead in the environment.

A danger to all, but deadly to kids

No matter how old you are, lead is poisonous. But for those 5 and under, it's particularly hazardous. Effects of even low levels of lead exposure may cause:

  • Learning disabilities
  • Kidney damage and problems with the nervous system
  • Stunted growth
  • Behavioral, language and speech difficulties
  • Hypertension
  • Digestive issues
  • Fertility problems and/or high-risk pregnancies

How do you know if you've been affected?

Your doctor can run a blood test to detect lead poisoning. But it's better to avoid exposure entirely than to try to mitigate the damage from it. Unfortunately, if you live in a rental home or apartment, you may not be able to avoid exposure entirely.

That doesn't mean that your landlord is off the hook for responsibility. He or she has the duty and obligation to reduce the risk of exposing tenants to harmful environmental toxins.

Responsible property owners should do the following:

  • Hire certified risk assessors or inspectors to test the premises.
  • Keep the property clean and swept so toxic dust from lead surfaces doesn't build up.
  • Be especially mindful of surface friction on doors and frames for windows and doors. Stairs are also a danger zone, as the traffic erodes surfaces and leads to chips and peeling paint.
  • When remodeling older living spaces, protect workers and occupants from lead dust released during paint removal processes.

Lead can leach out of plumbing and pipes, soil and even vintage children's toys, so if in doubt, test or toss it out.

Did you or your family suffer adverse effects from lead poisoning from the environment? If so, you may have grounds to file a premises liability lawsuit against the liable parties.

Source: State Farm, "Lead Poisoning from Paint," accessed Sep. 08, 2017

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