Our Home Threatened Our Child

Taken from Public Testimony  in Rhode Island

Like any other parent in Rhode Island, the most important priority in my life is to provide my two children, Damien & Samuel, with a happy, healthy, and safe living environment. A place where they can grow, learn and develop into productive adults. To me, a home represented all those things. A home of our own meant security, safety, and peace of mind. What I didn't know was that our home would threaten the very future of my family.


In April of 1996, my family and I took three years of our savings and made our first major investment - Our Own Home! Our first home was a late 19th Century cottage in the Smith Hill Section of Providence. We were so proud that all our hard work had paid off and we were able to give our children a place to, at last, call HOME!

Within 4 months of moving in, all our joy and pride had turned into fear and apprehension when it was discovered, during a routine Pediatric check-up, that my son, Samuel (age 10 months) had a lead level of 32 ug/dl. At first, I didn't even know what the number meant but I soon found out that the lead level meant my son was in a dangerous category - Samuel had been poisoned by LEAD!

We were immediately referred to the Lead Clinic at Hasbro Children's Hospital. By the second visit to the Lead Clinic, Sept 15th, 1996, Samuel's blood work showed that his lead level had risen to 50 ug/dl. Sam was hospitalized that afternoon and for 3 long, agonizing days he stayed in the hospital and began treatment with Chemet. In the meantime, my husband and I were left to worry and wonder.

In the three days Sam was hospitalized, my husband and I spent many hours cleaning, duct taping windows, making phone calls; trying to make our home lead safe and searching for answers and help. All the while keeping vigil over our Sam.

Since that day, our lives have been turned upside down! At one point, Sam was even considered for a bone marrow exam because he was so anemic. We needed to get further educated about lead - and FAST! We needed to take control of the future of our family.

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