MSF Attorneys at Law
MSF Animation

  • Lead-Paint Poisoning of Children
  • Lead-Paint Litigation Strategies
  • Leaded Bath Tub Glaze
  • Leaded Plates and Dishes
  • Leaded Mini-Blinds
  • Lead-Painted Doll Furniture
  • Title X
  • Medical Devices
  • Dangerous Pharmaceuticals
  • 215-561-2100
    Eleven Penn Center
    1835 Market Street
    Suite 2600
    Philadelphia, PA 19103


    Lead-Paint Poisoning of Children
    One particular category of toxic tort is injury caused by exposure to lead-based paint. The hazards of lead-based paint have been known since the early 1900s, when the use of lead in the manufacture of paint was banned in Australia. The lead mining and lead pigment industries in the United States were able, however, to forestall the banning of the use of lead in the manufacture of paint until 1978, when it (finally) became illegal in our nation. Lead has also been found in dangerous levels in vinyl mini-blinds and in the finishing on fixtures such as bath tubs.

    The greatest risk of injury from lead poisoning is to children under the age of seven, whose developing bodies and brains are sensitive to even small amounts of lead, which can leave children with irreversible injury that does not appear until many years after the exposure to lead. The kinds of injuries lead causes in children include:

  • learning disabilities
  • brain damage (sometimes subtle)
  • loss of IQ points and intellect
  • academic failure
  • neuropsychological deficits
  • attention deficit disorder
  • hyperactive behavior
  • antisocial (criminal) behavior
  • neurological problems
  • encephalopathy (brain swelling)
  • major organ failure
  • coma
  • death
  • These injuries can be life-threatening or can prevent a child from realizing his or her scholastic, vocational, and financial potential, or from becoming a self-sufficient adult. Studies have shown that lead poisoned children are more likely to drop out of high school and to live a lifetime of unemployment. Lead poisoning can take important abilities from a child.

    The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta (CDC) has concluded that the risk of a child's suffering the above injuries begins when a child's blood-lead level rises to a mere 10 micrograms per deciliter of whole blood. And while lead poisoning is treatable in the sense that there are medical and environmental interventions that can prevent further lead ingestion and help a child to excrete the lead that has already been ingested, the damage that lead does in a child's body is not treatable: once any lead is ingested, the damage is done and is permanent.

    While there are certainly other sources of lead in a child's environment, it is universally accepted that the most common cause of lead poisoning in children is deteriorating (chipping and peeling) lead-based paint on the exterior and interior of residences where the afflicted child lives. When lead-based paint deteriorates because of a landlord's neglect, refusal to obey local and federal health and housing codes and regulations, or refusal to comply with a tenant's request for repainting, the deteriorated lead-based paint becomes lead paint chips (which can be eaten by children) and lead-contaminated paint dust (which can be ingested by children during normal teething, hand-mouth behavior, or putting dusty items in their mouths). Because without having the paint tested a tenant can never know for sure whether deteriorating paint contains lead, the following precautions should be taken by a tenant with children under the age of seven:

    1. Make sure your child receives a blood-lead test at each pediatric check-up at least until age 7
    2. obtain immediate emergency care for any child who exhibits the following symptoms:
      • sluggish behavior
      • apathy
      • headaches
      • staring periods
      • tremors
      • seizures
      • loss of consciousness
      • abdominal cramps
      • loss of appetite
      • constipation
      • irritability
      • hyperactive behavioral
    3. ways assume that paint in housing built before 1978 contains lead
    4. call the local department of health and insist on a lead-based paint inspection
    5. insist that the landlord maintain paint properly by removing deteriorating paint and repainting with two coats of non-leaded paint
    6. frequently mop all floors and wipe down all surfaces with high-phosphate detergents
    7. ensure that your children wash their hands frequently
    8. wash you children's toys frequently to ensure that lead-contaminated dust does not settle on them
    9. discourage your children from putting their hands and toys in their mouths
    10. ask for help from your pediatrician and your local department of health

    Lawsuits brought on behalf of children who have been lead poisoned because of the negligence and carelessness of landlords or paint and pigment manufacturers are very serious. Because a large percentage of children who have been lead poisoned may have consequently suffered mild to moderate brain damage, these children are entitled to be compensated by those reponsible for the lead poisoning. Although the effects of lead poisoning are permanent and irreversible, economic compensation can fund a child's specialized schooling, occupational therapy, future medical care, and other support services. As with other toxic tort cases, Lead-Paint poisoning cases require experienced attorneys who have special expertise with lead poisoning cases. The first step a competent attorney will take in any childhood lead poisoning case is endeavoring to find the source(s) of the lead by employing an experienced lead tester or certified industrial hygienist to test each residence or other location where the lead poisoned child has spent appreciable time. Next, the attorney should arrange for the lead-poisoned child to be tested by a neurologist or neuropsychologist for evidence of lead-related injury. Pediatric medical doctors with expertise in the diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis of children with lead poisoning will have to be employed. As with most toxic tort cases, they are vigorously defended by landlords, who usually defend on the theory that any deficits that the child exhibits are due to bad parenting, genetic inferiority, or lead from other sources. It cannot be stressed enough, however, that childhood lead poisoning is not just an urban problem; it can affect children from all walks of life. If you suspect that your child has been poisoned by lead-based paint, or if you notice chipping and peeling paint in your home or apartment, there are several resources

  • you should consult:
  • your child's pediatrician
  • your local department of public health
  • the National Lead Information Center (1-800-LEAD-FYI)
  • the Coalition to End Childhood Lead Poisoning, 28 Ostend Street., Baltimore, Maryland 212-30-4209. Call 800-370-5323 or e-mail
  • Home Owners: For information regarding home care, please see this helpful Q&A piece developed by Realist which describes steps that home owners should take in response to the presence of lead.
  • This informational piece was developed by the Law Offices of Monheit, Silverman & Fodera. If you wish to initiate a legal investigation into the possibility that your child was lead poisoned as a result of the wrongful conduct of another, please find an attorney with special expertise in Lead-Paint poisoning cases. Monheit, Silverman & Fodera is ready to assist you. Please call at (800) 220-LAW1, or use the "Do I Have A Case?" button on this web site.

    Medical Malpractice | Medical Devices | Consumer Fraud | Toxic Exposures | Defective Products | Dangerous Pharmaceuticals | Worksite Accidents | Automobile Accidents | Class Actions | Site Directory | Attorney Profiles | Practice Groups

    Do I Have A Case? | Verdicts & Settlements | Links | Site Search | Disclaimer | Home