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Lead Poisoning Prevention Month 2014: Baby Amelia in Oregon

Baby Amelia’s Story
By Mama Stephanie
October 2014

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 a 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—permanent brain damage, ADHD, behavioral issues, organ function problems, among many others (we won’t begin to truly see the full impact of Amelia’s poisoning until she is school-aged.) [Editor’s note: scientists tell us that with childhood lead poisoning, some effects—like the impact on “Executive Function“—can’t be fully assessed until even on into the twenties, when the human brain’s vital, last-to-develop structure – the frontal lobe – is complete!]

We were immediately contacted by the Multnomah County Health Department. They performed an inspection of our home and tests identified several lead contaminated surfaces. The HUD guideline for maximum lead level in a windowsill is 250 ppm. Our windowsill tested 14,000ppm!!! Every time we opened our old windows the friction created (lead-contaminated) dust. Amelia did not eat any lead paint chips—she was poisoned by dust. Lead is heavy, so it falls to the floor; the dust settled on the floors and surfaces that our baby crawled and played on. All of our area rugs had to be discarded. Our vacuum cleaner is ruined. All her toys had to be thoroughly cleaned or thrown away. They also discovered that our soil was above the federal guidelines, which means our dogs and our feet were tracking in additional lead!Amelia

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 old bathtub!! The porcelain in 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 and her foundation are doing fantastic work—and their documentary film, MisLead: America’s Secret Epidemic is amazing! [ , ] –
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

Please make a tax-deductible donation below in support of Amelia and her family. Our goal for this family is $4,800   – just enough to cover the difference in rent for one year – which will hopefully give them the opportunity to get back on their feet as Amelia recovers from being lead-poisoned.


We will post updates with funds raised here  – as they are donated.

$0 donated so far • Friday, October 17, 2014 – 4:53 pm

GOAL: $4,800 towards moving/ relocation costs
Sorry that the updating of this list is not automated in any way.

You should receive a PayPal receipt for your donation via email as soon as you make the donation.
Your official thank you letter (for your taxes) will be sent via snail mail shortly.

Everyone who donates will also get FREE lead-paint tests kits to test their home or give away in their community (when we send them their thank you letter for their donation.) As we are a 501(c)3 nonprofit – contributions are tax-deductible to the extent allowable by law.

*Please note: It can take 3 weeks to 3 months for us to allocate the funds to help any particular family, depending on how they choose to allocate the resources/ board approval of their choice and vendors they choose to use.  Payments of designated funds are made directly to vendors and not to the family personally.


2 Responses to Lead Poisoning Prevention Month 2014: Baby Amelia in Oregon

  1. charisse tasset October 18, 2014 at 8:04 am #

    I also have a child with higher lead levels. She was tested by the pediatrician when she was three. She had an 11. She is four now and is down to a 3. The doctor was not concerned. We also live in an old house here in dallas, tx and I am a carpenter/ construction worker. I am waiting on test results for myself, since I wasnt get one until I was able to get health insurance through the marketplace. It is alarming to me that not one of my kids Montessori preschool friends have been tested. It was an afterthought of the pediatrician my daughter went to, and not in any way required… she has an abundance of cavities also that are being explained away by nighttime breastfeeding/prolonged breastfeeding (since we eat primarily organic, very little sugar or fruit juices)…by doctors and dentists alike, with absolutely no concern about or correlation made by them to the lead in her body! I talk anyone who will listen about lead poisoning. I have not found any resources in my area and luckily have family I have been staying with until.I can figure out how to deal.with our home. so sorry I cant contribute to the cause monetarily, but I want to say thanks for spreading the word, good luck and keep it up!

    • Tamara October 18, 2014 at 8:06 am #

      Are you on facebook? Would you like to join our support group for parents of lead-poisoned children? If so, please send me a friend request:

      Thank you for sharing your story!

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