New York City Personal Injury Law Blog

Lead in Old NYC Housing

Posted on May 6, 2015 in Hazardous Materials

Lead paint exposure is an important issue for both renters and those who buy their own homes. These issues are especially important in urban areas where buildings may have high occupancy rates and/or may have been built decades or even centuries ago, and where lax construction or renovation standards may lead to certain kinds of safety hazards related to lead exposure.

Symptoms and Consequences

The consequences of lead exposure can be devastating, especially for children. These range from immediate consequences like seizures or coma, to slower-developing issues such as the disruption of developmental processes.

Because of the extreme health hazards related to lead exposure, authorities have put standards in place including real estate disclosure processes after the 1970s when much of the research on lead exposure was originally done.

Issues with Old Buildings

Many of the dangerous cases of lead exposure happen when these older paints are sanded or otherwise disrupted or when they flake or chip from unencapsulated areas of a property. In general, both indoor and outdoor lead paint issues can be hazardous.

In older properties, much of the lead paint may be painted over, but in various scenarios, it can still pose a health and safety threat. For example, a contractor may come in and tear out parts of an interior building or sand paint down to bare wood. Even something like opening and closing the door many hundreds of times can eventually cause the paint around a door or doorjamb to flake and settle.

In indoor cases where paint chips or flakes rather than being sanded, the risks are greatest for infants and toddlers who may be more prone to ingest items from the floor area.

Looking Out for Lead

Inexpensive lead test kits can be used to test exposed surfaces for lead paint. In terms of looking out for encapsulated or painted-over lead, the best course of action is to be cautious with renovations or improvements that will disrupt the underlying layers of paint.

Various lead abatement processes are also available. Contractors may wet down paint to remove it, or put in place safety nets that will collect the disrupted material, which is usually done during an exterior abatement.

That said, renters should ask landlords about the possible existence of lead paint on a property and buyers should examine seller disclosure forms carefully or ask agents to investigate on their behalf.

The Role of Personal Injury Lawyers in Such Cases

There are various situations where third parties may have responsibility in lead exposure cases. Landlords have a duty to inform tenants about the existence of lead paint on a property. Business owners have a responsibility to limit exposure to visitors. In cases where someone has sustained lead exposure injuries, local injury lawyers will look closely at the facts of the case to see whether any negligence or inattention to public safety contributed to the exposure.

Call a New York City Catastrophic Injury Law Firm Today

Anyone harmed by hazards in a New York City building can call the lawyers at Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff. We stand with our clients in bringing personal injury cases through New York courts. Let us help prepare your case. We will keep you informed every step of the way and be sure your voice is heard when it matters most.

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