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Baby Lyla in Connecticut

1186234_575194305870626_1318419538_nFor updates on Lyla’s condition and our work helping her, please scroll down & read the comments as well. Thank you all!

Raised to date to help this family:
Thank you!

This is Lyla.

Lyla is three years old and lives in Waterbury, Connecticut.

She has an older brother and an older sister. Her mama works full time in the hotel industry and her father is a stay-at-home-dad, taking care of the littles.

Lyla’s grandma contacted us on June 10th—the moment she found out that Lyla tested positive with a blood lead level of 54 micrograms per deciliter. Fifty-four.

Historical research shows us that the natural level of lead (as measured in pre-industrial humans) was about 0.016 micrograms per deciliter. A BLL of 1.6 is 100 times that. A BLL of 16 is 1000 times that, a BLL of 54 is more than 3,000 times this—3,000 times natural level; 3,000 times of a substance well documented and known for centuries to be a potent neurotoxin – even at trace levels.

In 2014 this should not be happening, but it is – and this little girl and her family need help!

Even at very low blood lead levels (as low as 2.0 and lower), early childhood lead poisoning has been shown to cause learning disabilities, behavioral disorders, immune system deficiencies and life-long health challenges. The longer a child is exposed and the higher their blood lead level is, the greater the likelihood is that the damage will be permanent. The younger a child is the greater the potential for brain damage caused by lead exposure, brain damage caused by the quickly developing brain of a young child absorbing lead in place of calcium.

There is no safe level of lead in a child’s blood, and it takes just a microscopic amount of lead to poison a child. (watch here)

Lyla’s Grandma describes the family’s landlord as a “slumlord” and they need help getting the whole family to a safe place so that Lyla can recover.

Rent in their area of Connecticut is about $1,000 a month for a place like the one they live in (a poorly maintained rental unit with extensive lead paint hazards, a home not safe for a child to live in)—and at least $1,500 a month for a “safe” place – that is either newer construction or at least has been remodeled and free of lead hazards.

Update: Today, Saturday 6/14 Lyla has been hospitalized. They are doing chelation in the hospital. Doctors have said they are planning on releasing her on Sunday – and the family has nowhere to go that is safe.

We would like to help Lyla’s family raise enough for 3 months’ rent and a security deposit (and at minimum, first/last and deposit) – to help them move out of the home immediately (so she go to a safe place upon being released from the hospital.) Lyla’s family has not been able to find any public program in their area with available funds for relocating a family in this situation.

First Month: $1,500
Last Month: $1,500
Security Deposit: $1,500
Extra Month: $1,500.

Total needed to raise to help Lyla and her family: $6,000. [Three months in a temporary new place, will give them time to get a handle on their child’s medical situation and look for a new, safe, permanent residence in their price-range.]

Since they are renters, their only need right now is for help with immediate relocation if possible. If you have questions please post them as a comment to this post and either Lyla’s grandmother, Diane, or I will answer them for you.

Please help us help this family move by making a tax-deductible contribution today. Clicking this LINK here automatically adds Lyla’s name to the donation so that we know your gift is designated to help this particular family. Any donation will help, no donation is too small, so whatever you can give would be terrific – $5, $10, $100 – it all adds up.

We will use the funds raised to locate and secure a place for Lyla and her family. Per Lead Safe America policy, any money we raise will be paid directly to the landlord / manager of the new rental unit. If we raise more than our goal we will either increase the amount of support for this family or use the funds for another family in need of emergency help.

Thank you.

Tamara Rubin
Executive Director
Lead Safe America Foundation

$ raised to help Lyla’s family so far: $1,140
Thursday, July 3rd –  1 pm

Thank you for helping!

  1. Ras Dany – Portland, Oregon
  2. Puren Tekin – Mill Valley, California
  3. Nicole Erwin – Studio City, California
  4. Monique Napiorkowska – West Haven, Connecticut
  5. Donna De Leo – West Henrietta, New York
  6. Anonymous – Anonymousland 🙂
  7. Space Mermaid – West Hollywood, California
  8. Alexis Morin – Frisco, Texas
  9. Chris Zimmer – Milwaukie, Oregon
  10. Angela Maguire – Vancouver, Washington
  11. Anna Yusim – Brooklyn, New York
  12. Jessica Mendels – San Francisco, California
  13. Sheryl McDonough – Wethersfield, Connecticut
  14. Jessica Benjamin – Portland, Oregon
  15. Michael Pelillo – Hopkinton, New Hampshire
  16. Alison Kelly – Eugene, Oregon
  17. Sheryl Senkiw – Minneapolis, Minnesota
  18. Daniel Pincus – New York, New York
  19. Melinda Teiken – Saint Paul, Minnesota
  20. Krissina Corrales – Phoenix, Arizona

21 Responses to Baby Lyla in Connecticut

  1. Tamara June 14, 2014 at 5:11 pm #

    I want to say thank you to my high school friend Peter Bryanton, who responded to this post on Facebook with the following comment:

    “They may be able to get some assistance from the Lead Action for Medical Primary Prevention in Hartford.
    The city of Waterbury is a member.”

    • Malina Chin June 16, 2014 at 12:07 pm #

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    • Diane R June 24, 2014 at 9:25 pm #

      Hello All,
      Lyla had her first blood lead level test since chelation began a little less that two weeks ago. Her BLL is now 21! The family is being put up in a motel room by the Health Dept. and they are actively working on locating a lead safe apartment. We know we have a long way to go, but we are all feeling better knowing that the level is dropping and that there is some hope at the end of the tunnel. To all of those who have donated, our unending thanks and gratitude. For those who couldn’t donate but have offered their prayers, positive energy support and love we are equally grateful. This little one deserves so much better than this. All of our kids do. I wish each and every one of you *peace*hope*love*joy* ALWAYS.
      Most Sincerely,

  2. Tamara June 14, 2014 at 5:15 pm #

    LAMPP — Participating Communities

    Since 2003, LAMPP has been taking safe action against lead hazards and has completed projects in several communities across Connecticut. For more information about LAMPP at Connecticut Children’s, call 860.837.4241 or contact the local coordinator in your town.

    Sabine Kuczo, Bridgeport Lead Free Families: 203.576.8220
    Tammy Talton, Bridgeport Neighborhood Trust: 203.332.7977

    Dan Baroody, Danbury Health Department: 203.797.4626

    East Haven
    Francine Gaglione, Community Development Office: 203.468.3286
    Michael Pascucilla, East Shore Health District: 203.481.4233

    Michael Caronna, North Central District Health Department: 860.745.0383
    Peter Bryanton, Community Development Office: 860.253.6390

    Arlene Robertson, Hartford Health and Human Services: 860.757.4720
    Brian Matthews, City of Hartford Housing Management: 860.757.9031

    Jeff Catlett, Manchester Health Department: 860.647.3172
    Heather Donoghue, Manchester Planning Department: 860.647.3044

    Scott Bryden, Meriden Health Department: 203.630.4282
    Peter Miller, Meriden Neighborhood Trust: 203.630.4102

    New Britain
    Sergio Lupo, New Britain Health Department: 860.612.1603

    New Haven
    Ed Williams, Community Action Agency of New Haven: 203.387.7700

    Tom Closter, Norwalk Health Department: 203.854.7824
    Tim Carney, Norwalk Redevelopment Agency: 203.854.7810

    Ronald Miller, Stamford Health Department: 203.977.4363
    Sarah Pour, Stamford Community Development Office: 203.977.5731

    Torrington and Winchester
    Tom Stanton, Torrington Area Health District: 860.489.0436
    Leslie Polito, Torrington Area Health District: 860.489.0436

    Richard Lee, Waterbury Healthy Homes: 203.574.6786
    Tina Lubus, Waterbury Development Corporation: 203.346.2607
    Mike Gurecka, New Opportunities, Inc.: 203.575.4364

    West Haven
    Maureen Lillis, West Haven Health Department: 203.937.3663
    Mark Bisaccia, West Haven Community Development Office: 203.937.3550

    – See more at:

  3. Tamara June 14, 2014 at 5:25 pm #

    Noted: While this program says it provides for some relocation assistance it is specifically for relocation during construction. I don’t know if this family will qualify given their home is not under construction, but we will call on Monday to see if they can make an exception given the level of poisoning of the little girl and the fact that two other children are at risk of being poisoned in this home.

    • Tamara June 14, 2014 at 5:26 pm #

      From the above website:

      LAMPP Green & Healthy Homes Project

      Connecticut Children’s LAMPP Green & Healthy Homes Project (LAMPP) improves children’s health by making their homes healthier, safer places to be. We are committed to protecting children from lead poisoning and making homes in Connecticut green, safe and healthy. LAMPP receives funding through US Department of Housing and Urban Development and the State of Connecticut Department of Housing.

      Our goal is to protect children before they are poisoned by lead hazards or injured by safety hazards in their homes. LAMPP integrates health and safety interventions, lead hazard control, energy efficiency interventions, and housing rehabilitation for property owners by coordinating resources in an efficient manner to produce green and healthy homes. Our approach improves the housing for current and future occupants.

      LAMPP services are available in 15 towns and cities across Connecticut. LAMPP provides qualified homeowners and tenants with:

      Inspections and plans for lead and home safety hazard removal
      Financial assistance to remediate hazards
      Relocation assistance during construction
      Referrals to low- or no-cost home weatherization programs designed to increase energy efficiency
      Lead hazard and healthy homes education

      For more information about LAMPP at Connecticut Children’s, call 860.837.6241
      – See more at:

      • Diane R June 16, 2014 at 4:08 pm #

        As Tamara said in her post this organization offers emergency housing. They will put the family up in a hotel-tahnk God- until the testing at the apartment is done and then we will see. Although it isn’t optimal to have five people in one hotel room it is most certainly better than the alternative and we are so very grateful! Unfortunately this is very temporary and we are still in need of a permanent, safe place for our angel faced ball of energy. Any and all support, monitarily, spiritually or morally is humbly and gratefully accepted. Love to all for your support.

    • Francesca Provenzano June 16, 2014 at 7:20 pm #

      Your website should confirm stories before posting information.

      The family’s relocation has been going smoothly. The State of CT and its local health departments/district have relocation plans. We have two regional lead-safe houses. The hospital staff in our two regional lead treatment centers will not release a child unless it is to a lead-safe environment. The health departments work in concert with the regional lead treatment centers to find adequate and lead-safe housing upon release. Your statements regarding relocation during construction are inaccurate.

      • Diane R. June 16, 2014 at 8:56 pm #

        As it stands right now the family is being placed in a hotel room in the city where they reside. If there is a plan for a more permanent setting it most certainly has not been relayed to our family! At this point I can say that when Lyla’s Mom told the woman who gratefully arranged the hotel room for them that they had no money for a security deposit the woman had no suggestions whatsoever. In regards to “inaccurate information” I have spoken with infoline as well as several other organizations and have been told there is little that can be done for this family for housing. As a matter of fact Infoline suggested Statewide Legal Services!! As for the state of CT, shame on you for trying to make this organization look bad because you don’t like bad press. The safety of our children takes precidence over politics. If you don’t like what’s being said change your website. If you don’t want people to worry and seek information on their own, then follow the CDC guidelines and like it is an urgent matter when a child’s capillary test is 54 and not wait for the blood test to “prove” It before moving this child- or even alerting the parents to the TRUE danger!. Shame on all of us for allowing this to happen in this country without noticing and screaming to the rooftops. So far as the actual State Department of Health Lead Program, I spent a great deal of time talking to Tina McCarthy on Friday and found her to be a caring and thoughtful individual who would do all she could to help. It is not the failure of the people involved but rather the failure of the system at large that is of concern. I see nothing inaccurate in Tamara’s posts and stand by everything she’s said. I’m sorry to those who visit this site for bringing down the wrath of the state of CT onto this incredible organization. We are receiving help in the way of a hotel room for this family. They have also spoken to a caseworker from Yale who is getting back to them- a resource we were not sure we could access during my last conversation with Tamara. We are grateful for all that has been done and all those that are helping, state employees or not. We are saddened by the fact that this has become such a complicated and convoluted situation for Tamara. I however, will not be bullied into silence. What has happened here, from the lack of a two year lead test to a child sitting in an apartment for five days before se could be treated, or at least relocated, is a truly horrifying experience to this Grandmother who has worked within the CT system for over 14 years.. I thought we were better than this. And my disappointment will not be silenced.

      • Diane R. June 16, 2014 at 10:10 pm #

        Also, just to clarify, Lyla was not treated at either of the two Regional Lead Treatment Centers, but a local hospital. The family was not offered a lead safe home but rather a motel Regardless, they are grateful for the safety and are not complaining, but a “home” it isn’t.
        The question I had, which no one could answer at the time, was whether this child would have access to the same services as a child treated at one of the two regional lead treatment center hospitals. Mom found out that they would be able to access those services and proceeded to have Lyla admitted .Things move at a snails pace and then speed up like a freight train.. We never know if what we’re being told is going to come to fruition. It is difficult to trust in these situations. If nothing else, this shows how broken our system is.

  4. Sheryl June 15, 2014 at 4:42 am #

    Is there any way to figure out what in the apartment is the source, or sources, of the lead?

    • Tamara June 15, 2014 at 5:18 am #

      I have been talking mostly to Grandma – since the family is in trauma-mode, dealing with hospital, etc. It sounds like the apartment is a big mess though – the whole place – deteriorating old lead paint.

      Update/To Clarify: When I said the “the apartment is a big mess” – I did not mean that it was not clean and did not mean to imply that the family was not adequate at keeping house. What I meant was that it was a “big LEAD mess” – a home that likely has a lot of lead hazards.

      In my film we have several experts on the record saying specifically that if a home has existing lead-hazards… given the microscopic amount of lead-dust that it takes to poison a child… it is actually not possible to clean enough to protect a child. (These are quotes from Bruce Lanphear and Rebeca Morley among others.)

      Existing lead hazards may – in fact – not be obviously visible (there may not be active, chipping peeling paint) – instead it may be wear spots on doors and windows releasing microscopic lead dust particles with each open and close. Another possibility is that the surface paint layer is the original lead-paint (we have seen this in many cases) and that original surface layer constantly exudes lead dust into the environment whether or not it is chipping or peeling or an impact surface.

  5. Shawn Young June 15, 2014 at 9:15 pm #

    Sounds like old wood windows or dust/chips in and around play areas of the home.
    It’s very possible to live lead safe in a leaded home. Sounds like at a minimum, the apartment should be thoroughly cleaned along with play toys inside and out. Education is key! Keep a tidy house and a good eye on your child and cases like this are far and few. I thought CT had a strict lead policy but apparently not as good as MA. I am tempted to offer a lead safe cleanup of the interior of the apartment. All their belongings should be wiped down and linens be cleaned and that goes beyond what i do… Simply packing up and moving isn’t always the best solution. There has got to be someone from that area that can help, it’s just a matter of getting the word out.

  6. Diane R. June 15, 2014 at 10:14 pm #

    Oh no. Really? “keeping a tidy house and a good eye on your child” would have prevented this? I’m saddened that there is even one person out there looking to place blame on people who are suffering so deeply already. We don’t know yet where the lead is from but we do know that there are no loose paint chips laying around nor were there any found in her digestive tract. They seem to be leaning toward small particulates, We will probably know more after the Health Dept. investigates.

  7. Tamara June 15, 2014 at 11:05 pm #

    Here is a post with a follow up note from Grandma:


  8. Diane R. June 15, 2014 at 11:59 pm #

    Hello All,
    Lyla will stay the night at the hospital tonight as there are no pharmacies with the chelating agent in stock. We are told she will need 7 days of this treatment regimen for completion of this round. It takes three people to hold Lyla down and get the medicine in her successfully. Not sure how one adult will be able to do this at home, so that will have to be a question for the Doc when he comes in to see her tomorrow. The good news is that Lyla’s spirit has waned very little throughout this ordeal. She is still that amazingly generous, loving soul she has always been- only with a lot less trust of new folks. Her parents have been with her all weekend. We are grateful for your donations as well as your prayers and thank all who support this young family in any way they can.

  9. Tamara June 16, 2014 at 7:24 pm #

    Hi Francesca,

    The statement regarding relocation was from one specific program and we were quoting directly from their website (see excerpt from the site here in this thread) – it specifically says on that site that relocation is provided only during construction.

    If there is a site that discusses other forms of relocation available, we would love for you to share that link and a quote from that site here – so that other CT families can benefit from this information as well.

    Based on our interactions directly with family members – the family has been quite concerned about where to go upon release from the hospital. Up until today, it was my understanding that they were unaware of any alternate resources. This was confirmed with the family members directly.

    It is also our understanding that the relocation services provided are more along the lines of temporary/ interim relocation, when (again based on my conversation with family members) this family is a better candidate for a permanent relocation (as – even with remediation – returning to this property and this landlord does not seem to be a safe option.)

    Thank you for your posting and your work helping this family.

  10. F. Stephen Masek June 18, 2014 at 5:31 am #

    It seems interesting that there is mention of “when results become available.” My company sends the complete formal XRF inspection reports the same or next day after the testing, and the results are known by the end of the day of testing. For risk assessments with laboratory analysis of the wipe samples, results are available as soon as three hours after the laboratory receives the samples.

    By the way, I grew up in an old house which had exterior paint in very bad condition, but the interior was always spotless, and my parents watched us when we were toddlers. Housekeeping and parenting, like it or not, always come up in discussions of the hazards of lead, so it is best to address them up front.

    • Tamara June 18, 2014 at 5:53 am #

      Hi Stephen,

      I know this is a “hot-button” issue – which is why we have a whole scene on the ineffectiveness of cleaning in the presence of lead hazards in the film.

      In my case I had a crew of professional house cleaners coming twice a week when my children were poisoned…twice a week. My house was also spotless when my kids were poisoned.


    • Tamara June 18, 2014 at 6:02 am #

      P.S. Stephen- That’s terrific that your company makes results available so quickly! You should list yourself as a resource on our “California” page – (in the top menu bar under States.)

      It’s actually very frustrating how long some of the publicly funded programs take to get the testing results / reports to families. I wish they had the resources to have the same quick turn around that companies like yours have.

      • Diane R. June 18, 2014 at 12:21 pm #

        In regards to the Health Department I have to explain. Had they come out before Lyla was placed in hospital the parents would have been available to let them in for inspection, however, once Lyla was inpatient, both parents felt compelled to remain with their baby and they do have two other children to care for as well. So it isn’t the fault of the health dept. that the results are not available, they haven’t been able to get to the apartment. Now that Lyla is out of the hospital she cannot be anywhere near that apartment. That leaves one parent- who works full time and is now getting flack for being out so much. Unfortunately she was due to be promoted before all of this and now is being looked at as unreliable because of all of her time off- another challenge in itself. There was a miscommunication with the time yesterday and all have agreed to a new time.I must say without question that the Health Department has been incredibly understanding thus far and as there is no danger to Lyla and no other children at risk we are not panicked on that front. The woman at the Health Dept is looking for a better fit for the family than the hotel room for the time being. She is in very regular contact with Lyla’s parents. We really need to try not to jump on agencies and people.I know how much we all need someone to blame in situations like this but honestly it appears to be policy that needs changing. I have yet to meet any professional who doesn’t want to help. Seriously- not one. As I have addressed the “spotless house” issue already, I won’t bother to repeat myself. Parents should of course be made fully aware of he dangers of not watching their children. Lyla’s father dotes on her. She is never out of his sight. However, Lyla has delays which have her placing things and her hands in her mouth constantly. Again, I could find no paint chips when I checked- and I checked everywhere, down on my hands and knees at her level. I have talked to the parents about wet mopping and washing the toys at least once per week. I have also suggested chewy tubes or other sensory tools for her to keep her mouthing safer. In the end though, I stand by their parenting and am amazed at how absolutely delightful all three of their children are. Their biggest fault -if we need to find one- is that they lack financial resources to find a safe place to live. Thank you for your concern and input. I hope this answers some of your questions.

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