Lead Poisoning Particularly Critical to Children

Lead poisoning, according to the National Safety Council, is particularly critical in children below six years as it can cause "reduced IQ, learning disabilities, attention deficit disorders, behavioral problems, stunted growth, impaired hearing, and kidn

Lead Poisoning Particularly Critical to Children
From El Segundo, Calif, Mattel recalled 9 million of its imported toys early this month believing that the toys may have been contaminated with lead paint. Toymaker Fisher-Price has also recalled 967,000 toys including dolls, stacking rings, and musical instruments this month because they, too, were found to contain lead paint.

The toys were found to have coats of paint containing lead levels of more than 600 parts per million, which is the upper limit allowed by the government since 1978 in household items.

Besides these, 18.2 million toys containing tiny magnets that could be harmful if swallowed by children are being recalled.

It was the toy companies themselves that carried out the testing and revealed their findings to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Mattel will not be releasing its tests results but says that the paint violated lead-content limits. The Mattel spokeswoman, Andres, noted that some toys are only partly covered with the paint. "The [Mattel] Sarge car that was recalled, for example," she said, "had non-approved paint in specific areas, like a part of the wheel. The affected paint was not covering the entire product."

Lead poisoning, according to the National Safety Council, is particularly critical in children below six years as it can cause "reduced IQ, learning disabilities, attention deficit disorders, behavioral problems, stunted growth, impaired hearing, and kidney damage.

The NSC website continues, "Lead poisoning has also been associated with juvenile delinquency and criminal behavior."

Paul Mushak, a toxicologist and health-risk specialist in Durham, N.C., with previous experience in testifying for claimants in such types of lawsuits says it is possible for children to develop dangerous levels of lead in their blood within a month's time of playing with lead paint covered toys.

Now, two suits have been filed against toy makers Mattel Inc. and RC2 Corp for the recent debacle. However not having any evidence as yet of physical harm the suits are demanding payment for medical tests for children through medical monitoring funds.

American courts have been divided on this issue since at least the 1980s.At least fifteen states, two of them being California and Illinois, are in favor of allowing suits of this type. It is expected that about another fifteen states might not be in favor of it. The Supreme Court itself has not shown real support for the practice.

A law professor at the University of Baltimore School of Law, Richard Bourne, though, feels that it is sufficient for plaintiffs to prove future economic injury. He believes that companies should be held responsible for costs incurred during medical testing particularly as many Americans do not have health insurance. He says that hanging around till indications of lead poisoning show up "is not in the best interest of the victim."

Certain courts have ensured that any money awarded from such cases is actually spent on medical tests while others haven't. It is possible for courts to appoint an administrator who will supervise the payment of funds Experts agree that petitioners may find it possible to follow up on additional claims once injury has been proven.

In the case of toys lawsuits it is not yet definite as to whether scientific evidence can definitely prove to courts the absolute necessity of monitoring.

In the meantime, two experts in lead poisoning, one of them a developmental psychologist at Cornell University, Richard L. Canfield, feel that the threat from the Chinese-made toys is probably very low, but parents whose children owned any of the recently recalled types of toys should have the child's blood tested for lead if any of the paint on the toy is missing or damaged.


Roland Waite
Last Mod: 20 Ağustos 2007, 23:41
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