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Preventing Lead Poisoning at Home in Oregon

Lead is one of the most toxic chemicals that can still be commonly found in Oregon households today. Most know of its dangers, but not everyone knows how many children are still exposed to the potentially devastating consequences of long term exposure to the element that was not long ago commonly found in many popular house paints. injury attorneys in Portland take cases on behalf of children who have suffered severe kidney failure and liver damage, as well as other side effects of exposure to lead.

Besides damage to internal organs, ingesting lead has also been proven to result in slow growth and development, both physically and mentally, leading to behavior and learning difficulties. It’s also important to realize that just because your home isn’t painted with a lead-based product, this doesn’t mean your children are entire safe.  There are in fact a number of steps to take to protect your family from lead poisoning that every parent can take. They start with simply educating yourself about where and how your children are most likely to be exposed to lead, and how to prevent them from its harmful, even potentially fatal effects.

Tips to Know to Prevent Lead Poisoning in Children:

  • Do you know the year your house was built? Oregon homes built before 1978 are quite likely to have been painted with lead-based paint. Even if your home was built or painted within a year or two after 1978, it’s certainly feasible that some stocks of lead-based paint were still around and in use during that time.
  • There are other lead hazards in a home—particularly older homes—besides paint. It doesn’t cost a lot to hire a professional to conduct an inspection of your entire home to identify where you and your children might be at risk.
  • Whatever year your house was built, make regular checks for chipping and peeling paint. This applies to interior surfaces like window frames and sills, skirting boards, walls, doors and ceilings, as well as the exterior of your house.
  • If you do notice paint chips, clean them up immediately and use fresh paint to recover the surface. If you sweep up the old paint chips, wear a protective mask! Ingestion of lead through the inhalation of dust is one of the most common ways lead gets into your system.
  • Try to keep your child’s environment as dust free as possible. Wipe floors regularly with a wet wipe or mop, and clean down dusty surfaces like window sills or any other surface that you think might contain lead dust.
  • If you’re doing any remodeling, repainting or repairing jobs inside the house, be especially careful to avoid exposure to lead dust. Consider hiring a certified professional now to avoid the possibility of having to hire a Portland lead poisoning attorney in the future. Renovations and repair work cause more than half of all Oregon childhood lead poisonings and this is because of the dust created by disturbing, sanding or scraping old painted surfaces.
  • Because it is children who suffer the most from lead poisoning, take extra precautions before meals and after they’ve been playing outside. Even if your home is lead free, many places outside the home are not. Wash your child’s hands frequently; this is an excellent and simple method to help avoid lead ingestion.
  • Avoid tracking soil into your home that could very easily contain lead. The easiest way to do this is simply remove your shoes just before entering the house.
  • A well-balanced diet will actually help a child’s body to avoid absorbing lead. Ensuring your children eat healthy foods protects them in more ways than you might think!

What if I think my child may have already been exposed to lead?

If at any stage you become aware or concerned that your child may have been exposed to lead, even if they aren’t displaying any obvious symptoms, it’s a relatively simple matter to find out. A simple blood test will quickly reveal the level of lead in your child’s body. If your fears are confirmed and your child is harmed or at risk, consider consulting a Portland lead poisoning attorney who will get to the root of how your child was poisoned and tell you what can be done about it.

Bearing in mind that the majority of childhood lead poisoning cases occur because of renovation and repair work, it’s important to educate yourself on how to avoid putting your child at risk if work is being done in your own home. If you do hire a contractor, ask them if they are  “Lead-Safe Certified” and ask to see their certification. If on the other hand you plan to do the work yourself, phone the Oregon Lead-Based Paint Program, who will give you tips on how to work safely with lead-based paint. Their number is 971-673-0440.

Lead poisoning is something we don’t spend a lot of time thinking about, and our children certainly don’t give it any thought. Maybe that’s because the dangers are so well camouflaged we simply can’t see them. Yet every year, Oregon children suffer the effects of this highly toxic substance, with long term, even lifetime consequences. If this has happened in your family, the first thing you should do is seek and follow the best medical advice you can. After that, contact an experienced Portland lead poisoning attorney, who will offer a free consultation and explain how to go about getting the compensation your child will need for treatment and recovery.