NEW YORK. A study performed by Columbia University and reported on by the Gothamist found that there may be dangerous levels of lead in some Greenpoint backyards. Columbia graduate students took soil samples from Greenpoint backyards and found that 92 percent of backyards had levels of lead that exceeded the Environmental Protection Agency’s safe levels. The neighborhood was targeted for research because it has been polluted due to past industry in the area.
While New York City has worked hard to raise awareness of the dangers of lead paint dust to developing children, parents may not be aware that their children playing in their backyards could also be exposed to the dangerous contaminants. Parents are warned to watch for peeling paint and to report peeling paint to their landlord.
The Atlantic reports that lead exposure has long-term risks. Mothers exposed to lead are at greater risk of miscarriage and lead can have long-term developmental effects on children who are exposed. In Flint, Michigan, for example, where lead levels in the water reached dangerous levels, birth rates dropped. The lead levels may have led to more miscarriages and to lowered fertility rates in women in the area who were exposed to the contaminated water.
Children exposed to lead can experience developmental delays later in life. The impact of their early lead exposure can take years to become apparent.
Poorer communities are most at risk of lead exposure. Older public housing sometimes isn’t updated as required. Families who complain may receive pushback from landlords. Poorer families may not always be educated about the lead risk in their homes. Some are immigrants who fear deportation and may be worried about what might happen if they speak up.
Yet, more families are fighting back. Freddie Gray’s family recently received a settlement for their son’s lead poisoning. Experts found that Gray’s exposure to lead could have impacted his poor school outcomes and led to his involvement in the drug trade.
So, what can you do if you fear that your child has been injured due to lead poisoning? First, report all instances of flaking or peeling paint to your landlord. If you live in a neighborhood where soil has been found to be contaminated with lead, don’t let your child dig or play in the yard. Better to be safe and buy a sand box than run the risk of potentially harmful contamination. Children who play outside should wash their hands when they come inside. Families who live in neighborhoods where lead has been found in the soil can also cover the ground with mulch or grass. Though this might not eliminate the lead problem, it can mitigate it.
Finally, consider speaking to an injury lawyer in New York, if you believe that lead poisoning has affected your family’s health or well-being. Antin, Ehrlich, & Epstein, L.L.P. are injury lawyers in New York City who work with families who have suffered a personal injury due to another person’s neglect or negligence. You may only have a limited amount of time to seek damages if you have been hurt. Visit our firm at https://aeelaw.com/ to learn more today.