Although today’s blog is not directly related to typical issues of Legal Medicine….we felt this was important news to share with the public! Today’s edition of the Roanoke Times reported on a lead paint poisoning case this firm recently filed in the Roanoke City Circuit Court. The lawsuit was filed on behalf on a 7 year old girl and claims her landlord did nothing to remove the threat of lead paint poisoning in the rental property occupied by the girl’s family in 2002.
In October, the owner of the property, Frank Roupas, agreed to pay a $4,000 penalty to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for his failure to disclose lead paint hazards to his tenants, including those who lived in the home occupied by the 7 year old girl.
Children are exposed to lead when they ingest chips of lead-based paint or swallow or breathe lead contaminated dust. HUD (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development) conducted a study that determined that about 74% of privately owned housing units in the United States built before 1980 contain lead-based paint. Congress passed laws during 1978 outlawing the use of lead in paint. However, the law only banned the use of lead in paint sold after that time period.
Layers and layers of old lead-based paint remain on houses and apartments constructed before the ban went into effect. Old and poorly kept or maintained housing poses a great risk, because the lead paint flakes, chips and dust can shed and can come in contact with small children. Many cases of lead poisoning also result when homes containing lead-based paint are remodeled or renovated without precautions being taken.