Testing Children for Lead
According to New Jersey law, all children should be tested for lead toxicity at both 12 and 24 months of age. If a child under the age of six is not tested at both one and two years old, they should be tested as soon as possible.
In the most recent year for which data was collected, nearly 4,500 children had elevated lead levels in their blood—most of these children were under the age of two.
The primary source of lead poisoning comes from homes built prior to 1978 – before the enactment of a federal law that banned lead-based paint. However, environmental contamination can also cause lead poisoning. Both drinking water and soil can be contaminated with hazardous lead.
Lead Exposure in Children
Lead poisoning usually occurs over a period of months or years as the toxic lead accumulates in a child’s body. Symptoms of lead poisoning can be difficult to detect and mimic other childhood illnesses. Common symptoms include:
- Abdominal pain or cramping
- Constipation or other digestive problems
- Sleep issues
- Developmental delay or learning disabilities
- Low IQ
- Behavioral problems
- Memory Loss
- High blood pressure
- Kidney problems
- Numbness in arms and/or legs
New Jersey requires medical intervention for lead toxicity if a child has blood lead levels of 5 micrograms per deciliter of blood or more.
If caught early, lead poisoning can be treated before the brain and nervous system are permanently damaged, but once a child has sustained neurological damage from lead toxicity, it cannot be reversed.
Testing and Diagnosis
Free testing is available at local health departments for children whose parents do not have health insurance and do not exceed the income threshold. These centers are called Federally Qualified Health Centers, or FQHCs. Every health insurance provider in the state with more than 50 insureds (including both HMOs and MCOs) are required by the State of New Jersey to cover the cost of lead testing with no deductible for insured children.
If your child has been diagnosed with elevated lead levels, you are probably wondering what you can expect. Your child’s physician will arrange for periodic retesting and provide you with information to reduce your child’s exposure. Because lead contamination is a public health issue, your doctor will also work with the local health department.
You can expect to be contacted by a case manager, who will visit your home to try and locate the source of the contamination by running tests of painted surfaces, water, soil, toys, and so forth. They will also provide information about how to prevent further exposure to lead.
They will additionally help to determine whether your family qualifies for community services and arrange for testing of others in the household who may have been exposed to lead.
New Jersey and Pennsylvania Environmental Contamination Lawyers at Williams Cedar Represent Families of Children Suffering From Lead Toxicity
If your child has been exposed to dangerous levels of lead, the South Jersey environmental contamination lawyers at Williams Cedar or Pennsylvania environmental contamination lawyers at Williams Cedar can help you get answers and hold the responsible parties accountable. To schedule a free consultation, call us at our Haddonfield, New Jersey office at 856-470-9777 or our Philadelphia office at 215-557-0099 or complete our online contact form. We represent clients in Haddonfield, Cherry Hill, South Jersey, Pennsylvania, and nationwide.