Maple Heights family with 18-month-old child stuck in lead-contaminated home

Published: Jul. 1, 2022 at 6:57 AM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Chinester Williams is very afraid for her son’s health.

They moved into their dream home after being homeless, only to find out it has lead throughout.

“The best way I can explain this is I’m in a ball of darkness and I’m trying to fin a way out.”

Williams says she feels trapped in her own house, the one she rents in Maples Heights. There’s lead in every room and she says it has poisoned her 18-month-old son Aaren Williams.

“My concerns are his developmental delays as he has blood lead level of 5.5. He’s not talking and he’s not reaching his milestones.”

Aaren is caught in the middle of a medical dilemma.

Williams said, “His lead level is not high enough, so there are not a lot of programs that he qualifies for to receive assistance.”

In the meantime, she said a lead inspector said having her dresser and book shelves in front of the window is a good way to block Aaren off from chewing on the window seal where the lead is.

He has to rate at least 10 to take advantage of some programs.

However, the county said there are programs that she probably could qualify for, but that she has to meet certain income requirements and apply.

John Sobolewski, deputy director of the Cuyahoga County Board of Health, said this about Williams and others who find themselves in a similar situation: “Any child with a blood lead level higher than 5 is considered to be elevated, but at 10 or higher, an environmental investigation is required by law in the state of Ohio. We go out and we investigate and identify the lead hazards and order landlords to fix things.”

Chinester said her landlord lives in New York and rarely returns her calls.

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