The dangers of lead poisoning are well-known among New Yorkers, especially if you purchased a home or rented an apartment built before 1978, but the full ramifications of this toxic chemical are still being researched. While most of us understand it can cause brain damage and negatively impact our nervous system, few New Yorkers are aware of the risks of lead poisoning and other heavy metal exposure on eye health.
Vision Problems and Lead
The fact is that lead exposure can greatly affect vision, including the development of the eye. Lead poisoning is known to have severe effects on the human nervous system and brain processing. Although the eye itself is not part of the nervous system, it is connected to the brain by the optic nerve, and all the information that the eye receives is transferred to the brain for processing. Thus, a debilitating brain injury caused by lead poisoning can negatively impact your eye’s health, even leading to vision loss.
Studies of lead exposure and eye health have revealed that when a person has lead poisoning, they may experience problems with vision, including difficulty seeing in low light, blurred vision, and chronic eye irritation. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) note the considerable risk of brain injuries as a result of long-term lead exposure, especially in young children. A study by the Environmental Health Perspectives furthers the connection between lead and eye injuries, noting an increased risk of suffering cataracts or optic neuritis, which can result in blindness, and a report by the American Academy of Optometry also tracked the development of vision issues in a 10-year-old boy who had elevated lead levels in his blood after exposure as a toddler.
Who Is at Risk?
Long-term exposure to lead can contribute to debilitating medical conditions in addition to eye injuries and vision loss, often starting at young ages. Thus, children are at high risk for lead poisoning because their various bodily systems, including their eyes, are still developing. In addition, many old children’s toys were painted with lead and can lead to long term disabilities. However, lead exposure can also impact adults.
Construction workers in particular must take great care when working in older buildings and houses that may have lead paint. During demolitions, these chemicals can be released into the air and inhaled by workers if they are not provided with proper protective gear. If the worker later developed a medical condition due to toxic exposure, it is possible for them to recover damages in a workers’ compensation claim for long-term damages or pursue a premises liability claim against the property owner if they were aware of the risk.
Lead poisoning may easily be caused by a defective product that contains excessive levels of lead or from contaminated water sources in your house or apartment. If the property owner was aware that you could be exposed to lead and did not warn you of the risks, they could be held liable not only in a civil case, but also for breaching federal laws.
If you or someone you love has been injured by lead, contact the experienced New York personal injury lawyers at Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro, Moses & Halperin, LLP, today. Our legal team can utilize our 50 years of knowledge and skill to advocate for compensation that includes all your injuries, including vision problems caused by lead. Call us today at (212) 986-7353 to schedule a free consultation and discuss your case.
Edited: September 19, 2020