Richmond health district inspecting and condemning homes with high levels of lead - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Richmond health district inspecting and condemning homes with high levels of lead

By Jola Szubielski - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A hidden danger in some Richmond homes has the city taking action. The move comes as high levels of lead are being found in more children.

In just the last two months, health officials have seen an alarming number of children with extremely high lead levels and inspecting homes like this could be the first line of defense.

This home on West Broad Rock Boulevard was inspected yesterday, condemned today. The peeling paint, a sign of high lead levels, the official readout the confirmation.

Officials are now trying to get a handle on what seems to be a growing problem. In just the last two months, seven Richmond children have been identified with having blood lead levels, more than twice the limit. Last year during the same time period there were only two.

"It decreases their IQ levels so their ability to succeed in school decreases, their behavior as far as more aggressive behaviors," said Richmond Health District's Michael Welch.

And since lead poisoning is usually picked up by children who touch peeling paint and then put their hands in their mouth, the home is the first place to guard.

"We inspect both the inside outside and the soil, a house like this, a lot of that paint has fallen off and has contaminated the soil," Welch said.

Richmond Health District officials are condemning properties with high levels of the toxic chemical and refusing residence until the home has been cleaned up. But they're also urging parents to have their children tested more often - at least once a year up to the age of six. A good idea says this mother of two who says staying informed is key.

"Get some reading materials and read up on it and see what kind of serious damage it can really cause to a child," said one mother.

Health officials say they'll also inspect residents homes if they have children six years of age or younger or if they've tested for high lead levels. The number to call is 205-3500.

(c) 2009. WWBT, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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