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Lead paint poisoning

peeling paint.jpgLead paint poisoning is the greatest environmental threat to children in the state, according to the Ohio Department of Health. Children under 3, including unborn children, are at greatest risk, although people of any age can be injured as a result of exposure to lead.

One of the most significant causes of lead poisoning is exposure to lead paint in paint chips and paint dust. In an effort to combat this, Ohio instituted the Ohio Healthy Homes and Lead Poisoning Prevention Program (OHHLPPP). This program provides information and resources about lead poisoning, focusing on lead paint exposure as the source.

Symptoms And Signs Of Lead Poisoning

According to the program's website, exposure to even small amounts of lead can cause problems such as these in children:

  • Behavior or attention problems
  • Failure at school
  • Hearing problems
  • Kidney damage
  • Reduced IQ
  • Slowed body growth

Symptoms of lead poisoning, which can occur at any age, include:

  • Abdominal pain and cramping (usually the first sign of a high, toxic dose of lead)
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Anemia
  • Constipation
  • Difficulty getting pregnant
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Headaches
  • Hearing loss
  • Irritability
  • Loss of previous developmental skills (in young children)
  • Low appetite and energy
  • Reduced sensations

Ohio Children Have Higher Risk Of Lead Paint Exposure

According to the Ohio Department of Health, Ohio is one of the top states in the number and percentage of homes built before 1980 - homes that are most likely to be contaminated with lead paint. Additionally, the percentage of Ohio children under age 6 with elevated blood lead levels is the fourth highest in the U.S.

Families Can Determine Their Risk Of Lead Paint Exposure

Ohio landlords are required by law to disclose the presence of lead paint in their rental properties. However, families can also determine their risk independently through the health department website. That site provides estimates of the risk by ZIP code of living in housing with lead paint. For example, in Franklin County, 98,877 children under age 6 were determined to be at risk for having elevated lead blood levels. The Franklin County neighborhood most at risk was census tract 005410, which has an average per capita income much lower than both the state and the national averages. Tract 005410 is part of an old neighborhood known as South of Main.

Parents who believe that their child has become ill because of lead paint exposure should first have the child's lead blood levels tested. They may also wish to consult an attorney to determine whether they might be able to seek compensation through a premises liability claim for the damages their child suffered.

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