A 4-year-old Brooklyn boy was diagnosed with lead poisoning after New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) (The Projects) officials had falsely certified that his home was lead-free. The boy was diagnosed with lead poisoning in 2017, when he was 4. According to a news report in The City, the NYCHA (The Projects) apartment unit at Red Hook Houses where the boy lived, had been cleared by a licensed NYCHA supervisor.
Excessive Lead Levels
However, the news article states that according to the city’s Department of Investigation, the supervisor had never been to the apartment in Red Hook Houses and had never reviewed inspection reports. The supervisor had simply signed off paperwork certifying that an apartment he had never set foot into was lead-free thereby exempting NYCHA from having to inspect the unit going forward as required by Local Law 1 and federal regulations.
The consequences became clear once the boy’s doctor notified the city Department of Health & Mental Hygiene that the child had registered a blood-lead level of 12 micrograms per deciliter of blood – way over the cutoff of 5 micrograms – deemed unsafe by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
After the boy’s diagnosis, inspectors from the city Department of Health & Mental Hygiene visited the apartment to check for the presence of lead paint. Using a handheld device known as an XRF analyzer, they found lead throughout the apartment, which NYCHA (The Projects) had declared safe, records reviewed by The City show. Last month the Department of Investigations released a report highlighting fraudulent actions by NYCHA personnel in apartments where children were exposed to toxic lead paint.
Over the last five years, evidence has surfaced of young NYCHA residents with dangerously high levels of lead in their blood. The boy’s mother noticed that his speech development was behind for his age group and that he showed behavioral issues, a common symptom of lead poisoning in young children.
Impact of Lead on Children
Lead is an extremely toxic metal that can cause serious health problems. Young children are especially at risk of lead poisoning because their developing brains and nervous systems are particularly vulnerable to lead-induced injuries. Young children also absorb and retain lead at a higher rate than older children and adults.
Environmental factors cause older children and adults to be at risk as well. Acute lead poisoning can cause serious health effects such as kidney failure, convulsions, coma and even death. But, even lead concentrations once thought to be safe (below 5 milligrams per deciliter of blood) are now known to result in decreased intelligence, behavioral issues and learning disabilities among children. Studies show that lead damages children’s nervous systems and delays brain development.
When lead poisoning issues are left unaddressed, children who experience prolonged lead exposure may suffer from impaired kidney function, neurobehavioral impacts and even cognitive dysfunction. These effects have lifelong effects on a child’s IQ and behavior leading to attention deficit disorder, reduced educational attainment and increased anti-social tendencies. Lead is also harmful to pregnant women and may cause adverse health effects including premature births and miscarriages.
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.
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