LEAD PAINT POISONING
How does lead exposure occur?
People living near hazardous waste sites are often exposed to lead and chemicals that contain lead by breathing air, drinking water, eating foods, or swallowing or touching dust or dirt that contains lead. For people who do not live near hazardous waste sites, exposure to lead may lead to lead poisoning and occur in several ways: (1) by eating foods or drinking water that contain lead; (2) by spending time in areas where leaded paints have been used and are deteriorating; (3) by working in jobs where lead is used; (4) by using health-care products or folk remedies that contain lead; and (5) by having hobbies in which lead may be used such as sculpturing (lead solder) and staining glass.
Foods such as fruits, vegetables, meats, grains, seafood, soft drinks, and wine may have lead in them. Cigarette smoke also contains small amounts of lead. Lead gets into food from water during cooking and into foods and beverages from dust that contains lead falling onto crops, from plants absorbing lead that is in the soil, and from dust that contains lead falling onto food during processing. Lead may also enter foods if they are put into improperly glazed pottery or ceramic dishes and from leaded-crystal glassware. Illegal whiskey made using stills that contain lead-soldered parts (such as truck radiators) may also contain lead. The amount of lead found in canned foods decreased 87% from 1980 to 1988, which indicates that the chance of exposure to lead in canned food from lead-soldered containers has been greatly reduced. Lead may also be released from soldered joints in kettles used to boil water for beverages.
In general, very little lead is found in lakes, rivers, or groundwater used to supply the public with drinking water. More than 99% of all publicly supplied drinking water contains less than 0.005 parts of lead per million parts of water (ppm). However, the amount of lead taken into your body through drinking water can be higher in communities with acidic water supplies. Acidic water makes it easier for the lead found in pipes, leaded solder, and brass faucets to enter water. Public water treatment systems are now required to use control measures to make water less acidic. Sources of lead in drinking water include lead that can come out of lead pipes, faucets, and leaded solder used in plumbing. Plumbing that contains lead may be found in public drinking water systems, and in houses, apartment buildings, and public buildings that are more than twenty years old.Breathing in or swallowing airborne dust and dirt that have lead in them is another way you can be exposed. In 1984, burning leaded gasoline was the single largest source of lead emissions. Very little lead in the air comes from gasoline now because EPA has banned its use in gasoline. Other sources of lead in the air include releases to the air from industries involved in iron and steel production, lead-acid-battery manufacturing, and non-ferrous (brass and bronze) foundries. Lead released into air may also come from burning of solid lead-containing waste, windblown dust, volcanoes, exhaust from workroom air, burning or weathering of lead-painted surfaces, fumes from leaded gasoline, and cigarette smoke.
Skin contact with dust and dirt containing lead occurs every day. Some cosmetics and hair dyes contain lead compounds. However, not much lead can get into your body through your skin. Leaded gasoline contains a lead compound that may be quickly absorbed. In the home, you or your children may be exposed to lead if you take some types of home remedy medicines that contain lead compounds. Lead compounds are in some non-Western cosmetics, such as surma and kohl. Some types of hair colorants and dyes contain lead acetate. Read the labels on hair coloring products, use them with caution, and keep them away from children.
People who are exposed at work are usually exposed by breathing in air that contains lead particles. Exposure to lead occurs in many jobs. People who work in lead smelting and refining industries, brass/bronze foundries, rubber products and plastics industries, soldering, steel welding and cutting operations, battery manufacturing plants, and lead compound manufacturing industries may be exposed to lead. Construction workers and people who work at municipal waste incinerators, pottery and ceramics industries, radiator repair shops, and other industries that use lead solder may also be exposed. Between 0.5 and 1.5 million workers are exposed to lead in the workplace. In California alone, more than 200,000 workers are exposed to lead. Families of workers may be exposed to higher levels of lead when workers bring home lead dust on their work clothes.
You may also be exposed to lead in the home if you work with stained glass as a hobby, make lead fishing weights or ammunition, or if you are involved in home renovation that involves the removal of old lead-based paint.
Act now! It is essential that you inquire about your case as soon as possible. Litigation may be the only way to receive the damages to which you may be entitled, such as medical and health care bills, lost or diminished wages, and financial compensation to family in the case of death. Your individual state's law may limit your time to bring a legal claim to protect your rights. You need to have your lead paint claim evaluated immediately!
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