Our daughter Amelia was lead poisoned by our NE Portland home. In August 2014, our landlord wanted to apply for a lead remediation grant to repaint the exterior of our house. We went to the doctor for a routine visit and had a lead test done. We didn't think anything of it. It was a quick heel poke and we were on our way. A few days later we got the call that our daughter had an elevated blood lead level of 6. There is no safe level of lead in a baby's body. Anything over a 5 is considered "Lead Poisoned". We had to go in for a second blood draw, which confirmed our fears. Our daughter had lead poisoning. Lead poisoning can cause a host of issues from permanent brain damage, organ function problems, ADHD, behavioral issues, among many others. We won't truly see the full effects of Amelia's poisoning until she is school-aged. As parents, this is a heartbreaking situation. All we want to do is protect our baby. How can you protect them from something you can't see? We are praying that there are no long-term effects and focusing on reducing her bll.
We were immediately contacted by the Multnomah County Health Department. They performed an inspection of our home and identified several lead contaminated surfaces. The HUD guideline for a windowsill is 250ppm. Our windowsill was 14,000ppm!!! They also discovered that our soil was above the federal guidelines which means our dogs and our feet were tracking in lead! Amelia did not eat any lead paint chips. She was poisoned by dust. Lead is heavy, so it falls to the floor. Every time we opened our old windows it created friction, which created dust. The dust settled on the floors and surfaces that our baby crawled and played on. All her toys had to be thoroughly cleaned or thrown away. All of our area rugs had to be discarded. Our vacuum cleaner is ruined.
The Portland Housing Bureau did a second inspection in conjunction with the lead remediation grant application process. The results were not good. Every surface they tested was positive for lead. Every wall, window, nook and cranny. The floors our baby played on and even our bathtub!! Our bathtub is leeching lead! At this point we are waiting to hear if we qualify for assistance through HUD's relocation assistance programs. I'm looking for work and Matt is picking up all the hours he can.
We were put in touch with Tamara Rubin of the Lead Safe America Foundation. Her help has been invaluable! We don't know what we would have done without her guidance and support. We learned that we are not alone in this. The word needs to be spread about lead poisoning. Especially in neighborhoods with older homes. Tamara, her foundation and their documentary MisLead: America's Secret Epidemic are doing amazing work.
(They are in need of donations, too!)
On October 7th 2014, our little family was forced to move. Unfortunately, Portland's housing market has EXPLODED since we moved into our old house in 2012. We had to move to the complete opposite end of town. We are practically in another city at this point. We are approximately 30 minutes from the neighborhood we called home for the last 4 years. The new apartment is great but it is also $400 more than what we were paying before. I am a stay at home mom and pick up babysitting jobs here and there to help make ends meet. Matt is our sole income and with student loans and various other bills on top of the increased rent we are feeling pretty worried. I'm looking for work as we speak but the 1st of the month is looming and I'm not sure how I'll pull together the money that we need in time. I am trying to be positive and trust that everything will work out.
If you are able, we would graciously accept any donations. We are hoping to replace our belongings that we have lost during this ordeal and help cushion our transition while I look for work.
We are so grateful for all your kindness.
The Linares Family
Matt, Stephanie & Amelia
- Gail Metcalf
- syd Vongboutdy
- matthew hunter
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