Children are Increasingly Missing Lead Testing during COVID-19

Families are skipping critical testing for lead poisoning because of the pandemic, Kaiser Health News reports. The report, which draws data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that especially in the Upper Midwest, Northeast and parts of the West Coast, areas with historically high rates of lead poisoning, the slide in testing has been the most dramatic. The drop-off during the spring was significant – about 76% — compared with the year before, officials said.

What This Means for Children’s Health

Blood tests for lead are the only way to tell if a child has been exposed to dangerous levels of lead. They are typically done by pricking a finger or heel or tapping a vein. A blood test with elevated lead levels triggers the next critical steps in getting early intervention for the behavioral, learning and health effects of lead poisoning and also identifying the source of the lead to prevent further harm to the child.

However, because of the coronavirus pandemic, the decrease in blood tests means referrals for critical home inspections as well as medical and educational services are dropping too. That also means that children who have suffered lead poisoning are not getting the help they need. This also comes at a time when schools and childcare centers are closed and children who are at risk are spending more time at home – where the exposure is taking place.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that about 500,000 children between the ages of 1 and 5 have been poisoned by lead. In 2017, more than 40,000 children had elevated blood lead levels, which is defined as higher than 5 micrograms per deciliter of blood. While testing had been increasing in June and July, officials say it is nowhere near as high as it would need to be to catch up on the children who missed appointments at the height of the lockdown orders.

Lead Repairs Stalled in New York City Housing Authority (The Projects)

To make matters worse, the federal monitor who is in charge of overseeing reforms at the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) (The Projects) stated in a recently-released report that the coronavirus pandemic has also slowed down the agency’s progress toward meeting deadlines to eliminate unsafe and unsanitary conditions in public housing developments.

NYCHA had planned to complete the lead paint inspections by the end of this year. But, testing started off very slowly and by March 26, only 30% of the units had been inspected. At the end of January, NYCHA also announced it would test 174 community centers that serve young children, as part of its agreement with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). However, the speed at which inspections and repairs have been done has been severely affected by the pandemic.

NYC Lead Poisoning Lawyer

Whether you have been living as a tenant at a private apartment complex or in a public housing unit (the Projects), please remember that you have legal rights. If your child has been diagnosed with high blood lead levels, regardless of whether you live in public or private housing, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against the NYCHA (the Projects) or private landlords (building owners and building managers) for damages. Those who have been affected can seek compensation for damages including medical expenses, cost of diagnostic tests, permanent injuries, lost income and benefits, disabilities, past and future pain and suffering, etc.

If your child has been affected by lead poisoning, the experienced New York personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Kenneth A. Wilhelm can help you better understand your legal rights and options, and also fight hard to recover just compensation for you.

Our firm recovered $1,162,500 for a child who suffered lead poisoning from paint in her apartment. The child’s injuries were subtle and difficult to recognize. We recovered $162,500 above the $1 million dollar total insurance policy in this case. Despite the judge’s efforts to settle the case for $950,000, we fought hard and recovered $162,500 more than the insurance policy of one million dollars. Also, one of our clients obtained a verdict for $43,940,000 and another of our clients got a verdict for $23,500,000, both in medical malpractice cases.

Please contact us TOLL FREE 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-WORK-4-YOU (1-800-967-5496). WE CAN EVEN COME TO YOU. There is no attorneys’ fee unless we recover money for you. We can also help with personal injury and medical malpractice cases in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, or Florida. If you have been seriously injured in any of the 50 U.S. states, please call us and we will try to help you with your case.

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