Poison Lurking In Your Home? - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

03/13/03 - Tyler

Poison Lurking In Your Home?

"I've come to realize that a lot of these families don't realize what's inside their homes," David Gonzales with the Smith County Health District is on a mission.

Going door to door, he's teaching people about lead poisoning and how it can harm your family. By canvassing neighborhoods across Tyler, over the last couple of months, David's found 50 children poisoned by lead. 2 year old Yunnere Hernandez is one example. Like many unsuspecting families, her grandmother, Paula Hernandez didn't know paint chipping away from the home could be the culprit, "I cried a lot," she says. "I want to move from this house - because these houses are so old and they are very deteriorated."

Homes built before 1978 are a teeming with lead paint. On window seals, on old pipes--and even airborne from construction that's filtered the paint into the air. You'll find it everywhere in the Hernandez home--inside and out says David. When Yunnere was tested, her levels peaked into the 20's--a dangerously high amount. A fear for Paula, "What they told me," she says. "Is that it could affect the child's kidneys, and her development as well." It could led to liver damage and learning disabilities. Even worst, if Yunnere didn't get help she could have gone into a coma or died. But thankfully her lead levels are lowering--by feeding her foods rich with Vitamin C and Iron. Along with washing her hands--often--especially before meals. These are all temporary solutions until the Hernandez family can find a new home, "Our plan is to move from this house," says Paula. "There's no other option."

A lead poisoning test costs about $10 dollars. As for the homes being found with lead, the Texas Department of Health will step in by doing a series of environmental tests. Those test will determine how the owners will be responsible for cleaning up the homes.

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