Lead Contamination Causes Developmental Problems


Lead Expert WitnessThis case takes place in New York and involves a plaintiff who moved into a house owned by the defendant. The plaintiffs lived in the residence for a period of several months, when they were compelled to vacate due to extremely high levels of lead that had contaminated the house and the surrounding soil. A few years before the plaintiff family had moved in to the defendant’s property, the defendant had personally removed large portions of the lead-based paint from both the exterior and interior of the building by use of grinding wheels, brushes, and various other paint removal tools. He was not trained or certified to remove lead paint and coatings from any building or structure. The surrounding topsoil adjacent to the house contained many times the legal limit of lead contamination. The plaintiff’s children have suffered bodily injury and developmental problems from the high levels of lead contamination. The children were hospitalized for an extended period of time for treatment which required, among other things, a complete blood transfusion and cleansing of lead from their bloodstream. A number of experts in environmental engineering, soil chemistry, and a neuropsychologist were retained in this case.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. Have you ever been involved with the treatment of children who have been exposed to high levels of lead?
  • 2. Can you speak on the cognitive impairment associated to lead poisoning?

Expert Witness Response E-028575

My research is focused on cognitive development and neurotoxicology in human infants and children. I am currently investigating the association of low-level lead (Pb) exposure and childrens’ intellectual and neuropsychological development. My research, published in the New England Journal of Medicine and in Environmental Health Perspectives is among the most highly cited in the area of the cognitive effects of childhood lead exposure. From 2008-2012 I served on the EPA science advisory board for the clean air scientific advisory committee dealing with the health effects of lead exposure. My work on this committee was to guide the EPA in their completion of the most recent integrated science assessment for lead in service of their evaluation of current national ambient air quality standards. This work involved a thorough review of all scientific literature on the sources of environmental lead, routes of exposure, mechanisms of health effects, and biostatistical evidence for adverse effects in humans. I contributed primary expertise on the evidence for adverse neuropsychological effects of lead exposure in children. It appears clear that the developmental delays experienced by the children in this case were the result of their significant lead exposure.

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