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Are you aware of the dangers posed by lead poisoning?

Lead is dangerous. It does not take much of it to pose a serious health hazard. An amount equal to one grain of sugar or salt can cause permanent injury. Children are especially at risk because lead harms their developing brains. Consequences to health can be severe. Lead poisoning can cause permanent health problems and can even be fatal.

Symptoms of lead poisoning in children are well known based on decades of research. They include loss of IQ, difficulty focusing and behavioral problems. Yet, because these symptoms are potentially from other sources, lead poisoning is often undiagnosed and not addressed.

What Are The Early Signs of Lead Poisoning?

Approximately 24 million homes in the United States contain dangerous and highly toxic deteriorated lead-based paint. More than 500,000 children 1 to 5 years in age have elevated blood levels. Blood levels as low as 5 mcg/dL are sufficient to cause permanent cognitive, neurological, emotional and behavioral problems in young children.  Toddlers 1 to 3 years old are particularly at risk because they play on the floor and put their hands, toys, books -- you name it -- in their mouth on a constant basis. That hand-to-mouth behavior can transfer lead dust and lead paint chips into a child's mouth in sufficient quantity to result in lead poisoning.

Not all houses or apartments have lead-based paint. Lead was outlawed in the mid-1970s and is not used in modern paints. However, you should assume that any house or apartment built prior to 1978 (and there are literally millions of such homes in the U.S.) contain lead-based paint. Lead-based paint that is chipping, flaking, cracking, chalking or which is the subject of constant friction (e.g., double hung windows and doors opening and closing) is exceedingly dangerous as it can be ingested or inhaled by children. Lead and/or lead-based paint can also be found on old toys, pottery from Mexico or Central America and certain homeopathic remedies and candies from Latin America and Asia. Be careful using these products!

High-Risk Toddlers In State Program Missed Lead Test, Group Says

Nearly three-fourths of California toddlers enrolled in a state-run low-income insurance program did not have their blood tested for lead, according to a recent analysis by health organization.

The Environmental Working Group, a non-profit organization that conducts research and education related to health issues, studied state records between 2012 and 2016, and determined children enrolled in the Medi-Cal program did not receive the required tests. California law requires testing for lead at ages 1 and 24 months because the highly potent toxin can cause permanent damage in children. This includes neurological, physical and physiological harm in your child such as IQ deficiency, ADHD, aggression, language delay, delayed growth and a lifetime of problems.

How lead poisoning can affect your child

Lead poisoning is the most studied environmental health threat in history. Elevated blood lead levels in children can cause permanent neurological, physiological and physiological harm in your child including loss of IQ, ADHD, aggression, juvenile delinquency, loss of executive function (the ability to multi-task), language delay, delayed puberty and delayed growth.

Lead poisoning is typically caused by deteriorated lead-based paint in rental housing built prior to 1978. Microscopic particles of lead dust and small paint chips can be ingested by a toddler by playing on the floor though normal hand-to-mouth activity. Any blood lead level above 3 mcg/dL is dangerous and can cause permanent, irreversible harm to your child.

Know the signs of potential lead poisoning in your children

With the real estate market so competitive, many people who rent in and around Beverly Hills may simply feel thankful to find a rental unit they can afford. Often, older buildings end up divided into rental units, which may have had lead paint at some point. Many times, landlords choose to simply cover up lead paint with newer, lead-free paint instead of having the lead carefully removed.

Some landlords won't even do that. You could move into a home with paint peeling off of certain areas. Maybe they painted the visible areas with fresh paint, but not the inside of your cupboards and closets.

Landlord maintenance failures can lead to mold and health issues

California law does its best to protect both landlords and tenants. For example, landlords can evict, retain security deposits or file civil suits in response to substantial damages to their units caused by tenants. On the other hand, however, landlords must also maintain clean and safe spaces for their tenants. That includes ensuring adequate waterproofing and weather protection of the roof and exterior walls, as well as windows and doors. All too often, landlords will put off critical repairs and maintenance to save themselves a little money. That can cause a host of issues for tenants, ranging from damages to their property to serious health issues or injuries. Waterproofing, roof repairs and leaks can all be expensive to fix, but failing to do so could end up causing far more damage and cost over time.

Water leaks can result in mold growth

Improper maintenance could lead to ceiling collapses and injuries

Renting properties can be a lucrative source of income. However, basic requirements such as maintenance, repairs, lawn care and other necessities can cut into the profit margin for landlords. Some landlords decide to just stop performing repairs or maintenance. For these slum lords, they are happy enough to take the rent of hard-working people and families without providing a safe and clean space.

Many times, the issues associated with poor landlord maintenance result in annoyances and loss of quality of life. Issues like drafts, leaks and non-functioning windows or appliances can cause issues, but some people may choose to remain in a space instead of incurring the expenses associated with moving. Sadly, maintenance failures can lead to more serious issues. In cases of weak structures and water leaks, the potential for a ceiling collapse, especially after heavy rain, is a very real risk.

How To Spot A Slumlord From A Mile Away

Thankfully, most landlords care about the condition of their properties and make good faith efforts to make repairs, fix water leaks and control vermin such as cockroaches, bed bugs, rats and mice. However, there are many landlords who just don't care. They buy old beat-up buildings not to fix them, but to suck as much cash as they can out of their tenants while ignoring much needed repairs. That's the definition of a slumlord - a landlord who values money over the health and safety of the families who live in their buildings. 

With this sharp dose of reality in mind, it's important to have a clear idea of how to spot a slumlord. Look for these signs and stay away!

Are we underestimating the impact of toxic exposure?

During the last 30 years, scientists have been extensively studying the effects of toxins in terms of causing disease and death. What they have found may change our entire view of what is an acceptable amount of exposure to potentially harmful chemicals and pollutants. These studies have produced results that indicate that low-level exposure actually has a greater risk for developing an illness or dying. This means that even minimal exposure to lead has the potential to cause some very serious side effects.

Many studies have shown that lead exposure results in lower intelligent quotient (IQ) levels. What many of these studies do not show is that low-level exposure often accounts for the greatest rate of change in IQ levels. At higher levels, the rate of change in IQ levels decreases. Even though people have taken steps all across the country to decrease blood lead levels, lead exposure still contributes to a major loss in IQ points every year.

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