Health Alert: Lead In HomesMay 1, 2003 | www.wistv.com
Homeowner Bridgette Antonello knew it would take some work to fix up her house, but, even with four kids, she was up to the challenge, "I love just the character this house has when you walk in. I like the large rooms and all the dark stained wood."
Then, one by one, her children got sick. Elise has high levels of lead in her blood. Dominick has asthma. The Antonellos wondered if their house was the culprit, so a team of healthy home inspectors came to find out.
The checked the carpet for asthma triggers and checked the windowsills and carpet for lead. Dr. Kenneth Dillon of Environmental Health Sciences in Alabama says, "Even if it's in the walls, the lead dust still circulates around the room."
In the bathroom Kenneth found more problems, where a "little bit of mild and mildew is a major asthma trigger." He also recommends a pleated air filter for more efficiency.
Dr. Kenneth says, "The whole concept of the healthy homes initiative is to not only look for lead, but to look for asthma triggers, look for pesticides in the home."
Bridgette learned the paint in her house contains lead. She was also given a new vacuum with a special filter to better fight the allergens living in her carpet.
There are programs like Environmental Health Services across the country. Anyone who thinks his or her home could be making children sick should contact the local HUD office. Homes built before 1978 could also have lead paint. Children living there should have their blood tested.
Lead poisoning usually has no symptoms, but it can cause developmental problems, especially for children under the age of six.