New York City schools’ principals will notify thousands of parents of young children that their classrooms had cracked, chipped or peeling paint that tested positive for lead this summer. According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, in a round of inspections starting in June, contractors found lead in paint that was peeling in 938 public school classrooms for children under 6. Officials said these trouble spots would be repaired by repainting before school opens in September.
This is the New York City Department of Education’s first public data release on lead paint and the potential for lead poisoning in the city’s classrooms. The department inspected 5,408 preschool and kindergarten classrooms after an investigation by public radio station WNYC found evidence of lead paint contamination in four public elementary schools. The agency said it would check first-grade classrooms as well. For the first time, the department posted online a list of classrooms that require repairs and has said it would update this database thrice a year.
Typically, custodians perform visual inspections of walls and windowsills in schools that were built prior to 1985 and serve children under 6 years of age. When custodians find chipping or peeling lead paint, they order lead tests and repairs. Officials say the schools are safe for children and that they have enhanced protocols for communicating with families regarding steps that have been taken to prevent lead exposure and lead poisoning.
Child lead poisoning experts say the department’s report is cause for concern because it’s difficult to say for how long the paint had been chipping and peeling in the classrooms before the custodians noticed these issues. It is also unclear if these employees were trained to spot lead paint risks. Experts say the department should consider testing every classroom in older buildings for lead paint proactively so they know where the problems are rather than waiting for the paint to fall apart.
Dangers of Child Lead Poisoning
If your child has been in classrooms that were flagged for lead poisoning, it is important that you talk to your child’s pediatrician and schedule a blood test. Parents can also get free blood tests to determine lead exposure by calling 311. New York State requires all children to be tested for lead poisoning at ages 1 and 2 and screened for risk up to age 6.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), lead exposure can have serious consequences for children’s health. At high levels of exposure, lead attacks the brain and central nervous system. It may cause coma, convulsions or even death. Children who survive severe lead poisoning maybe left with mental health issues and behavioral disorders. At lower levels of exposure, children may not exhibit obvious symptoms, but still suffer consequences such as anemia, behavioral issues, hypertension, kidney problems and toxicity to reproductive organs. The neurological and behavioral effects of lead are believed to be irreversible. As lead exposure increases, the range and severity of symptoms and effects also increases.
NYC Lead Poisoning Lawyer
A victim who has been diagnosed with high blood lead levels, regardless of whether he or she lives in public or private housing, may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against the NYCHA (the Projects) or private landlords for damages. If your child has been exposed to lead in his or her classroom, you may be able to sue the parties that are responsible.
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. A knowledgeable New York City lead poisoning lawyer will be able to help you file the lawsuit and compile the evidence that is required to hold the agency accountable for its negligence (carelessness).
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 law 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 full 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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