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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.

This study indicates that agencies, such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), need to take steps to bring lead exposure levels down to zero. This means that if you live in an apartment near Union Elementary, your children might be at risk of developmental consequences as a result of lead exposure.

As a renter, you have certain rights and your landlord has certain obligations. For instance, you have the right to live in a safe apartment that is free from dangerous substances that might cause harm. Your landlord has an obligation to provide you with a safe and livable environment. If there is lead present in the paint in your apartment, in the common areas of the building, or on any equipment on the property that you or your children might come into contact with, then you have the right to complain. You can file with a local housing advocate as a first step toward forcing your landlord to make the necessary changes that will make your apartment safe.

If your child is exhibiting symptoms such as developmental delays or a low IQ score as a result of lead exposure, you might be able to take legal action. Keep in mind that your home may not be the only place where lead is present. It might also be in the paint at your child's school, on playground equipment or any number of places.

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