Kansas City program working to get rid of lead paint, reduce children’s exposure

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- More Kansas City kids are testing positive for exposure to lead paint.

This comes six-months after a FOX4 investigation, revealing the hazards of the long-banned paint and how thousands of local families are at risk.

While it's concerning more Kansas City kids are being found with high levels of toxic lead in their blood, the good news is more kids are also getting tested, which can help local programs intervene quicker to eliminate lead from their homes.

Freddie Slaughter loves kids and watching them grow.  She babysits several children in her Kansas City home.

But she didn't know until recently that her house had something hiding in it that could make them all sick.

“When I found out that I had that risk, I was really overly concerned not only for them but also for myself. It`s not good to have lead-based paint,” Slaughter said.

It turns out Freddie's windows and siding were coated with lead-based paint. Although the product has been banned for residential use since 1978, it's often hidden underneath layers and layers of new paint and still poses a health risk, especially if it's disturbed during home renovations.

“There are a lot of hazards in your house you don`t even realize, and those can affect your overall well-being and your physical health and your mental health, especially little ones,” said Amy Roberts with the Kansas City Health Department's lead poisoning prevention program.

Kids tend to absorb toxins like a sponge. The best way to treat lead poisoning is to remove how they're exposed to it.

Through Project Lead Safe KC, homeowners and renters with small children can apply for a free inspection. If problems are found, federal grant dollars can be used to fix them.

“There are a lot of healthy home issues in all housing that people can learn about and recognize and repair at little cost with great improvement in their health,” Roberts said.

Repairs through Lead Safe KC can range from minor fixes to major repairs.

Freddie Slaughter's home is now lead free with brand new windows and siding.

“Oh Lord! I couldn't begin to tell you. This company, Jude, came in, and when they came in, they did a makeover of my home. And everybody on the block says you have the most beautiful home in the whole block,” Slaughter said.

And now she feels confident the place where she cares for little ones is safe.

The Kansas City Health Department offers lead screenings and recommends all kids get blood tested for lead at ages one and two. If you’d like to learn more about in-home lead testing and repairs, check out Project Lead Safe KC.