Lead paint poisoning poses a major health threat to Vermont children. Many children are injured each year by ingesting lead dust or lead in paint chips. Lead that is absorbed in the blood and transferred through the body can seriously poison a young child whose brain and nervous system are still developing. Even a small chip of old lead paint, or inhaling lead in dust, can poison a child. It is well-documented, and medically accepted, that lead poisoning can cause a child to suffer permanent brain damage, loss of IQ, learning problems, developmental and behavioral disabilities, hyperactivity and other injuries.
Most Vermont children get tested for lead by their pediatricians. If the child tests positive, with a lead level higher than is allowed by Vermont law, the Vermont Department of Health takes action to protect the child’s health, and to make the property safe.
Vermont property owners and landlords are legally required to adequately maintain their properties so that children are not lead poisoned. In fact, Vermont has one of the strongest laws in the country protecting children in rental units from the hazards of lead paint poisoning. Vermont law requires owners of rental units (especially those built before 1978) to take reasonable steps to prevent children from being exposed to lead paint. Property owners who fail to meet their responsibilities can be sued by the parents or guardians of young children who have been severely lead poisoned. Those children can recover money damages from the landlords for all injuries they prove they suffered because of the lead poisoning.