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Could cleaning with bleech on lead paint cause temporary stroke like symptoms and fetal distress? ? Answered

I rent my home. When I moved here with three children, I was told there was no lead paint. Seven years later, I became pregnant. While cleaning, I used bleech to clean walls and floors and shelves and windows. I also scraped and repainted some areas. One night, I went to the store with my eldest daughter and had slight pain and numbness on one side of my body. I also couldnt speak properly or complete a responsive answer with correct words. My sentences were inappropriate. It lasted about 24 hours and got better. I felt extremely fatigued but blamed pregnancy. A few days later, I was sick, enormously fatigued and had sharp abdominal pain unlike labor. I went to the hospital and my baby's heart rate was failing. He was dieing. He was taken by emergency c-section, two months early and recovered in the newborn intensive care for three weeks. I recently found out that the home i rent does indeed contain lead paint and probably a good deal of it. The home owner found out about a state program that would come in and do all kinds of renovations for free if he signed up. Then he discovered that he would have to pay the back taxes on the home and cover the cost of the inspectors and opted not to have the lead removed. I am still living here with my children.




Free medical or legal advice on the web is generally not worth what you pay for it., and you're describing a situation where you can't afford to act on "best guess" and amateur opinion, nor can you afford to wait for amateurs to get around to responding.

What you're describing certainly sounds like poisoning of some sort to this semi-informed reader, but it would take an expert -- probably an expert looking at your blood chemistry as taken at the hospital during the emergency -- to say whether the issue was lead, the bleach reacting with something else, or something completely unrelated.

My own best guess is that the lead is probably not involved. But  I'm completely incompetent to have an opinion on this matter, and so are at least 99% of the other folks reading this note. WHEN YOU NEED EXPERT ADVICE, ASK AN EXPERT. YOUR FAMILY'S HEALTH IS WORTH THE INVESTMENT.

(Have I expressed this strongly enough?)

I'm with Kev. I have a feeling the bleach was probably the cause especially if you happened to be using Windex as well. There's also the possibility that you'd had a blood clot due to the pregnancy or the pregnancy itself was involved. Pregnancy does slightly elevate a woman's risk for stroke, and you can have a stroke and recover without medical help or even knowing you had one. Of course, having a stroke could have an effect on the pregnancy, and depending on what else was going on, you may have had the baby early because of that. I think you would have a difficult time proving that it was definitively the lead in the paint that caused this to happen to you however unfortunate the circumstances were.

You can certainly contact your local tenant's rights association, local department of housing (and urban development), or department of health, or you could call 2-1-1 for help on this matter if you don't know who to call.  Removing the lead is dangerous, dirty work.  If you are dissatisfied with your home or landlord, you should move which is much easier said than done.  However, you and your children should be fine so long as the lead paint has been properly covered, and you can request that the home be inspected for safety and find out the process for forcing an inspection through the above resources.  It's best to be informed about your options and what consequences may arise from any decisions you make.  Forcing an inspection could mean you will need to find new housing one way or another.  In TX, your landlord could evict you if you are 1 day late on paying rent which could be a possibility if you get an inspector in there.  Then he could rip out all the dry wall himself despite the danger and install new stuff.  It's hard to say.  You could also just pay for an inspection out of pocket, and they aren't too expensive.

I'm really sorry this has happened to you, and I hope you can get the support and information you need/want.

Not only I recommend to you that you move but think about starting a lawsuit against your landlord. He is obliged by law to disclose the truth about his properties. He failed to do so and endangered yours and your baby's health and future. Check with your local bar association or legal aid agency. I am deeply sorry for your situation and I hope everything works out for you.

Using bleach on lead paint probably was not a problem.  Lead has to ge into your body either by eating it, breathing the dust etc.  I don't see how washing it with bleach would have created a form that could enter your body unless you weren't wearing gloves.  Since you were using bleach I would assume that you were wearing rubber gloves.

Scraping or sanding the lead paint before you painted though might have caused you to breath in some lead dust.  And seizures is one of the symptoms of lead poisoning.

Why not contact the health department in your city and explain your story to them.  They should have a program concerning lead and will help you get answers.  If they don't then contact your state health department.

"And seizures is one of the symptoms of lead poisoning."

Fortunately, one bought of spring-cleaning dust won't cause the symptoms.

For any health concerns, always talk to your doctor - advice from strangers on the web is worth less than you pay for it.

If your landlord will not remove the lead paint, and you cannot afford to move, the safest thing to do is paint over it with ordinary paint.  Wear a mask whilst sanding, wipe up the dust with a damp cloth and throw the cloth in the trash.

Paint over the leaded paint with ordinary gloss or silk-finish paint, and as long as your children do not chew and consume the paint whilst teething, there will be no harmful effects at all.  Even if they do chew it, don't panic, just stop them chewing it.

Instead of trying to fix what's there, you should seriously consider moving elsewhere so that the continued safety of your children (and yourself) is not a concern. Even if you signed a contract, there should be safety clauses within that which can help you, and if not, there are surely legal precedents which can help you nullify it. Money is money, but you can't replace health at any cost.

Speaking for myself I would be less concerned about the remote possibility of sufficient lead getting into you system to cause poisoning by limited exposure on one occasion & more concerned about breathing in the fumes from so much bleach.
It sounds to me more like Sodium Hypochlorite poisoning.
A quick check on the web produced the following:-

Symptoms of poisoning to the airways and lungs include coughing, wheezing and vomiting. In addition, burning of the eyes, ears, nose and throat can occur. The heart and blood vessels may be damaged if chest pain, low blood pressure, slow heartbeat and shock take place. Delirium and even coma are extreme symptoms of bleach inhalation or ingestion poisoning.

Your abdominal pains, inability to respond properly & speaking incoherently seem to me to fit at least some of these symptoms.
I would consider looking into using alternative cleaning products, bleach on it's own is not actually that great & as often as not it's drawbacks far outweigh it's benefits compared to alternative products that do as good as if not better job.