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What Are The Early Signs of Lead Poisoning?

On behalf of Riley Law Group PC on Friday, July 27, 2018. 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! Symptoms of Lead Poisoning Lead poisoning is “asymptomatic.” That means it is a medical condition that does not show specific symptoms that can be immediately associated with lead. Infants exposed to lead before birth may be impacted with: Premature birth Low birth weight Slow or delayed growth Symptoms of lead poisoning in children may include: Learning delays Delayed or faulty speech Difficulty falling asleep or sleeping Aggression Irritability Tripping and falling Abdominal pain Vomiting Hearing loss Seizures Symptoms of adult lead poisoning may include: Pain in muscles or joints Headache Memory problems Difficulty concentrating Mood problems High blood pressure Abdominal pain Low sperm count or sperm abnormalities Miscarriage, premature birth, or stillbirth in pregnant women Very high lead levels can cause nervous system problems, kidney damage, seizures, loss of consciousness or death in children and adults. Lead Poisoning Prevention Lead poisoning is very, very serious. As a result, you should speak to your pediatrician and have your child blood tested at 12 and 24 months. Blood tests for lead are mandatory if your child receives government benefits (e.g., MediCal). Blood tests are the only way to determine if your child has lead poisoning. Lead poisoning is 100 percent preventable. You can help prevent lead poisoning by making sure your pre-1978 home or apartment is free from deteriorating, flaking, peeling, chipping or chalking paint. In addition, you should: Wash. Frequently wash hands and toys. Dust. Keep surfaces dust-free. Keep floors clean. Remove shoes before entering your home. Clear pipe residue. Run cold water before using, to help remove lead in pipes. Provide a play space that is not on soil. Plant grass, cover soil with mulch, provide a sandbox, or designate a patio play area. Maintain a healthy diet. Good nutrition and regular meals may reduce absorption of lead. Children need sufficient vitamin C, calcium, and iron to help inhibit lead absorption. No Biting! Make sure your child is not chewing on window sills (lead-based paint is sweet) or putting paint chips in her mouth! Using basic precautions can help you protect your family and yourself from lead exposure and avoid potentially serious harm. If you have questions about lead poisoning, call our firm.

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Lead poisoning majorly impacts pregnancy

On behalf of Riley Law Group PC posted on Wednesday, June 6, 2018. Most families understand the risks lead poisoning has on their children – often leading to significant brain and nervous system damage. However, lead poisoning can impact your unborn child if the mother is exposed to lead during pregnancy. If a pregnant woman ingests lead through breathing or swallowing, it will pass from the mother to the baby – impacting both people’s health including: risk of miscarriage, baby is born prematurely or too small, hurts the baby’s brain, kidneys and nervous system, and cause future learn or behavior problems. It’s incredibly important for pregnant women to know what factors puts them at risk for lead poisoning and what they can do about it. What puts me at risk? According to the National Capital Poison Center, pregnant women should be tested for lead if they have any of these risk factors: Recent arrival to the U.S. from a country with a lot of environmental lead Living near a source of lead, for example lead mines or battery recycling plants Working in a lead industry or living with someone who does Having a lead-based hobby, for example stained glass Using lead-based pottery for food or drinks Using lead-based cosmetics, such as imported kohl or sarma Using spices, herbs, or medicines that could be contaminated with lead Repairing or renovating a home with lead paint Living in a home with lead in the water pipes Having a history of lead poisoning; lead is stored in bone for decades and is released into the blood during pregnancy Living with someone with a high lead level Even pregnant women with only one risk factor can have lead poisoning, so every pregnant women should check with a health care professional about lead risks and if blood testing is needed.

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

On behalf of Riley Law Group PC posted on Friday, March 9, 2018. 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. Low-income children also are at the highest risk for exposure to lead. Although anyone can be affected, those from lower-income families are more likely to live in older rental apartments or houses with deteriorated lead-based paint built prior to 1978. Even microscopic particles of lead dust can be dangerous when ingested by a small child. How Widespread Is The Problem? The data obtained by EWG last month show that about 529,000 toddlers in Medi-Cal during a four-year period did not receive required lead tests. That means about only 28 percent of children in the program were tested from 2012-2016. Testing is essential to find the children who have been exposed and protect against further exposure. If you believe your child missed a lead test and was possibly exposed to lead, talking with an experienced attorney can help you determine your legal options.

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How lead poisoning can affect your child

On behalf of Riley Law Group PC posted on Thursday, February 8, 2018. 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. What you can do to protect your children and your family Lead poisoning from exposure to lead-based paint is 100 percent avoidable. The Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992 requires all landlords to provide prospective tenants with a Lead Warning Statement and EPA pamphlet “Protect Your Family from Lead in Your Home.”The Lead Warning Statement will inform you whether the landlord has actual knowledge of lead-based paint at the property. The 1992 Act also requires every landlord to provide you with any reports she or he may have regarding any lead hazards at the property. Importantly, the 1992 Act does NOT require landlords to test for lead-based paint. So, when you rent or buy an apartment or home, make sure you ask your landlord whether the property has ever been tested for lead-based paint. If you see peeling paint, insist that your landlord repair the paint using a lead certified contractor. Keep an eye out for peeling paint and be wary of old double-hung windows and doors that can create paint dust through wear and tear and friction. If you have any questions, please call.

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Know the signs of potential lead poisoning in your children

On behalf of Riley Law Group PC posted on Friday, February 2, 2018. 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. Even if you don’t notice, your children might while exploring the space or playing hide and seek. You need to familiarize yourself with the signs of potential lead poisoning if you rent a space in any building from before 1978. After all, the effects of lead poisoning can last a lifetime for your children. The signs of lead poisoning aren’t always obvious at first Children under the age of 6 are the most vulnerable to potential lead poisoning. Your children may seem mostly healthy but could still have dangerous levels of lead in their bodies. By the time symptoms become obvious, your child’s health and future are likely in danger. Prenatal exposure (meaning your unborn baby was exposed because you were) include premature birth, low birth weight and slow weight gain. If your baby is born early and has trouble gaining weight, a lead test is a good idea. In older children, symptoms can include development delays, trouble learning, changes in mood such as increased irritability, weight loss and loss of appetite, vomiting or abdominal pain, constipation, hearing loss, seizures and chronic fatigue. Some children also develop pica, which is the habit of eating items that are not food. If your child displays these symptoms, ask your doctor about a lead test as soon as you can. Know the ways your children end up exposed There are several ways that your children could end up accumulating too much lead in their little bodies. One of them is by actively peeling off paint from the walls, cabinets or other spaces in your home. Some children may eat the paint they peel off, resulting in dangerous levels of exposure. Even if they just chip off the paint, inhaling the dust it produces can also result in excessive lead exposure. If there is lead paint outside of your unit, perhaps in the basement near the furnace, the dust from old lead paint could end up circulating throughout your unit, putting your family at risk. Old pipes and poor water quality can also combine to create dangerous levels of lead in your water. If you suspect older pipes in your rental, having your water tested could be of critical importance to your children’s overall health and development.

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Landlord maintenance failures can lead to mold and health issues

On behalf of Riley Law Group PC posted on Monday, January 29, 2018. 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 For most molds, the perfect conditions are warm, wet and dark. The underside of a roof, the inside of a sink cabinet or building space below ground level can all see rapid mold growth in the right circumstances. Some molds are worse than others, with black mold, in particular, proving to be hard to eradicate and associated with a host of human health issues. As soon as you inform your landlord of leaking water from your roof, ceiling, windows, doors or pipes, he or she should take steps to address this issue. Failing to do so could result in worse damage over time, as well as the development of a mold issue that leaves you unable to live in the space safely. Mold should be addressed as soon as possible by professionals to ensure it does not come back. Black mold poisoning is a serious issue for tenants Toxic black mold, also called Stachybotrys chartarum, can quickly build up in your carpets, walls, ceiling or flooring and spread throughout your space. They can then give off spores and mycotoxins that cause serious health issues in humans and house pets. The most common symptoms of black mold exposure are respiratory. It can cause persistent coughing and sneezing, red, irritated eyes, rashes, fatigue and headaches. Severe cases can cause vomiting and bleeding in the lungs, throat and nose. A simple leak can soon lead to a home that is no longer inhabitable. Worse, it can result in massive medical bills, especially if there is someone in your home with mold allergies, asthma or a compromised immune system. Children and the elderly are also more vulnerable than healthy adults. If your landlord refused to address a leak leading to mold development, it may be time to consider taking legal action against your landlord.

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Improper maintenance could lead to ceiling collapses and injuries

On behalf of Riley Law Group PC posted on Wednesday, January 17, 2018. 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. Every building requires basic maintenance In order for a structure to remain safe, functional and secure, it requires basic repairs and regular inspections. A minor leak in the roof, for example, could cost only a few hundred dollars to properly fix. Failing to address it, however, can have catastrophic consequences. A landlord who decides to ignore a leak or to simply apply a mediocre patch that doesn’t resolve the root issue could face more serious issues later. Over time, buildings settle. Foundations crack, walls and floors become uneven and leaks can often result. Similarly, shingles and even metal roofing age over time. Weather can also play a factor in the deterioration of the systems, like roofing, that keep your apartment building safe and structurally sound. Good landlords address these issues as they arise to protect their investment and their tenants. Slum lords, however, will wait until they have no choice but to make repairs. Ceiling collapses can cost tenants thousands of dollars When a roof or ceiling suddenly fails, the outcome can prove devastating for the tenants of the unit. Their furniture and other possessions may end up destroyed by the collapse. The unit will become unlivable until all debris gets removed and the structure gets repaired properly. In a best-case scenario, the tenant will need to replace many possessions and secure an alternative place to live until the unit is livable again. Sometimes, however, people are at home in the unit when a ceiling collapses. The result could be severe injuries, such as concussions, broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries or even death. Children, the infirm, the elderly and even pets could end up crushed or severely hurt from a collapsed ceiling as a result of inadequate maintenance. Landlords have a legal obligation to their tenants to provide a safe space in return for rental fees. If a landlord’s refusal to maintain a property results in injuries, tenants should look into holding them legally responsible.

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How To Spot A Slumlord From A Mile Away

On behalf of Riley Law Group PC posted on Friday, January 12, 2018. 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! 1. The exterior of the property is in poor condition. Your informal inspection of any building should start with the exterior of the property. Look for peeling paint, broken windows, torn screens, missing vent screens, broken or degraded stucco and exterior mold. These are obvious signs of neglect. If a landlord is ignoring repairs they can plainly see simply by walking around the outside of their building, you know you’ll have troubles on the inside. 2. Common areas are dirty and neglected. Over and over we walk into buildings to meet with our clients and find walkways, hallways and laundry rooms all but falling apart. Stained carpeting, exposed wiring and water leaks are all bad signs. 3. The landlord promises to make repairs after you sign the lease but before you move in. We don’t like this one bit. Time after time, slumlords say, “yeah, we’ll fix that before you move in.” But when you show up with your kids, boxes, clothes and furniture, your apartment looks exactly the same. That’s not good. First, you have every right to a safe and habitable rental home. If you see peeling paint, water leaks or other defects, point them out and make a note on your lease that these items will be fixed before you move in. Get it in writing! The law in California protects you from the actions of selfish, money-hungry landlords. However, tenants cannot put their head in the sand and hope everything is going to be OK. Speak up and speak out. When you make a deal with a new landlord, put it in writing. When you ask for repairs, do it in writing and keep a copy of your note or letter! If the landlord won’t cooperate, remind them – in writing – that you’ve been asking for his or her help for weeks and if they won’t help, you will have no choice but to call the local health and housing department. If a slumlord has taken advantage of you, don’t hesitate to contact us so you can learn more about your legal rights and the action you can take to improve your situation in the future.

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Are we underestimating the impact of toxic exposure?

On behalf of Riley Law Group PC posted on Wednesday, January 10, 2018. 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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Lead Paint Makers Must Pay To Clean Up Homes, Court Rules

On behalf of Riley Law Group PC posted on Tuesday, January 9, 2018. In what many are calling a victory for California consumers, a state appeals court has ruled that lead paint companies are responsible for the cost of cleaning up homes containing the dangerous toxin. The ruling is the latest round in a lawsuit involving three companies — ConAgra, NL Industries and Sherwin-Williams. Attorneys for several cities and counties in California that sued argued that the companies’ aggressive marketing of lead paint, which they knew was highly toxic to young children, has created a public nuisance that threatens the health of California’s children to this day. Since the 1950s or even earlier, paint companies have known the risks, but they continued to market their potentially deadly products containing lead. Even though lead paint use in homes was banned in 1978, many houses in Los Angeles and surrounding areas of California still contain lead paint on interior walls. Thousands of children in low-income families in Los Angeles have elevated levels of lead in their blood, tests show. Lead paint becomes more dangerous as it ages. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that the degradation of lead paint results in contaminated dust and soil. This is a leading cause of lead exposure for kids living in older homes. The ruling holds the companies responsible for funding the investigation and removal of lead paint from homes in seven California counties and three cities. Estimates put the total at nearly 1.6 million homes. “Once again, the courts have made it clear that paint companies are not going to get away with poisoning children,” said Dennis Herrera, city attorney of San Francisco, in a statement regarding the decision from the 6th District Court of Appeal. If you have questions about whether you and your family may be eligible for a claim due to lead exposure, an experienced attorney can help.

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