Lead in grandma's home poisoned grandson

Posted at 6:25 PM, May 25, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-25 20:00:58-04

NEWPORT, Ky. -- When Shelia Standfield bought her Newport home, she had no idea that it would one day send her grandson to the hospital.

Standfield's home has lead, the Northern Kentucky Health Department told her. 

"The health department guy told me it's any kind of paint that's crinkling and peeling," she said. "I's all over the door frame and the stairs."

Standfield's daughter and her 3-year-old son also lived in the house. Today, the toddler is in the hospital recovering from a serious case of lead poisoning. The lead levels in his blood were more than double the amount that causes concern, his grandmother said.

"He was hospitalized because he was critically ill," Stanfield said. 

In Northern Kentucky, though, homes containing lead are not rare.

"Most of Covington, most of Newport, areas of Ludlow and Bellevue all have houses that are much older," said Emily Gresham Wherle from the Northern Kentucky Health Department.

When the health department took a look at the house, they recommended a lead abatement and that Standfield, her daughter and grandson move out of the home.

Standfield said the cost of the abatement and finding a place to stay was too steep for her to afford -- $12,000. 

"I tried every bank I can," she said. "I've had a loan with State Farm for over 30 years, but they said I'm over-extended."

A health department case worker is helping Standfield find options for alternative funding to finance the abatement. However, the department's grant fund is depleted.

The grandmother is still looking for options, but said she wants to warn others considering buying an older home.

"Other people really need to know before they get into this situation," she said.

Do you have questions about lead poisoning or homes that may contain lead?

The Northern Kentucky Health Department's lead poisoning prevention and properties guide

More information from the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services