Exposure to lead taking toll on city's children - WNEM TV 5

Exposure to lead taking toll on city's children

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Melissa Mays said she's recently learned to be a pretty good cook.

Before, she could whip up a meal but she's taken it to the next level.

A healthier diet is a must to minimize the problems that have tapped into her families' lives.

"It breaks my heart, because it's not fair. These kids did nothing to deserve this, nobody did," Mays said.

Doctors have told her exposure to lead in their drinking water has taken its toll.

She said her children have low white blood cell counts and learning problems.

"It's hurting them in different ways," Mays said.

And that's why she spent part of her night at church, where state Rep. Sheldon Neeley brought together experts to talk about the effects of lead.

"The issue today, we're talking about health. More importantly, the health of our children," Neeley said.

Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha blew the top off of the lead issue when she released her report showing higher levels of lead in children.

"It increases the likelihood of dropping your IQ, behavioral problems," Hanna-Attisha said.

She says there are steps people can take to try to minimize the impact.

That includes continuing to use a water filter... And to have diets high in iron, calcium, and vitamin c.

And she warns if your child drank the water...it's a good idea to get them to a doctor.

"There's a lot that we can do, right now, to minimize the exposure," Hanna-Attisha said.

Mays said she's taking the advice to heart.

"People need to know there are ways to try to filter out the lead, to try to get it out, and healthier ways to live, so they can manage this best as possible because it's going to go with us for the rest of our lives," Mays said.

Experts said children should go to the doctor if he or she drank the water because they might not show signs or symptoms of lead exposure.

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