Reduce lead hazards in your home through free St Louis County program

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – An invisible danger lurks in homes across the St. Louis area. Lead paint is linked to everything from learning disabilities to psychological problems. And it’s hard to determine if you have a problem.

You can ask for help through the St. Louis County Lead and Healthy Homes program by calling 314-615- 4428 or visiting the program’s website at StLouisCo.com.

Willie Ann Jackson cares for her grandchildren and often worried about exposing them to lead paint.

“My walls were peeling and I didn’t know whether to touch it or mess with it,” she said.

Jackson said a county lead inspector used a special device and found problems needing remediation.

She said the inspector told her she had plenty of lead paint all over her kitchen.

“For young children it’s very detrimental, because it impairs their learning ability,” said Tom Filla, an inspector with the Healthy Homes program. “There’s a host of problems that can develop when children are exposed to lead based paint.”

Filla’s office identified problems all around Jackson’s house and worked to get rid of it. His office painted walls and baseboards and replaced windows and doors.

“Friction surfaces like doors and windows, they’re the main culprit for lead poisoning for young children,” he said. “It’s that friction, surfaces rubbing against each other causes the dust. Dust settles on the floor. Children with just normal hand to mouth activity. That’s how they ingest it.”

Jackson said she didn’t even realize her doors were part of the problem.

“The framing of it looked like it was updated when I bought the house, but apparently not,” she said.

You may be eligible for help depending on your income, if your home is older than 1978 and you have kids who visit your home who are six and younger.