ASBESTOS AND LEAD POISONING: HARD TO DETECT, HARD TO NOTICE, BUT EASY TO OVERLOOK
The presence of lead and asbestos in paints or construction materials creates a toxic effect if people are exposed to it in the wrong way. Since the 1970’s, lead has been regulated by the EPA. Also, cities like New York, and counties across the nation, have building code ordinances requiring that new structures do not contain lead and asbestos. Nevertheless, many older residences still have walls covered with lead-based paint. They may also have old pipes and roofing materials that contain lead and asbestos.
Often, families living in such structures do not know that their home may be constructed with such materials. These families may not recognize that the presence of lead can cause their children to suffer certain symptoms that could be easily attributable to other causes as well. Without a blood test, a parent or doctor could mistake abdominal pain, the flu, tiredness, crankiness, or reduced attention span as the result of many other conditions besides lead poisoning, despite the fact that lead poisoning can cause all of these symptoms. Since lead exposure is not a visible phenomenon, parents may overlook this particular cause.
Furthermore, long-term exposure to lead can cause reduced cognitive abilities and other serious and permanent consequences. In many jurisdictions, including New York, landlords can be held legally responsible to their tenants for undue lead exposure. As it is not readily detectable and as the symptoms can be confused, a victim of such exposure will need legal assistance to prove that they were improperly exposed to lead.