City of San Diego educating public about harmful effects of lead

National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week this week

SAN DIEGO - On the surface, a little girls' pink princess lunchbox looks fine. A quick swab using a $2 test shows a bright pink liquid, which means it contains lead.

"Lead in tiny amounts causes brain damage and hyper activity and learning disabilities," said Leticia Ayala, who is with the Environmental Health Coalition. 

A member of Ayala's coalition went undercover with Team 10 last year, finding landlords who did not warn potential tenants about lead paint inside the units.

Report after report by Team 10 helped expose this dangerous problem. Now, the city of San Diego is educating people about the harmful effects of lead.

"We want to get the lead out of this older housing stock and keep our children safe," said San Diego City Councilwoman Marti Emerald.

This week was proclaimed National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week.

"What you saw today at council is really a partnership that was created over the last 20 years or so, since 10News and the Environmental Health Coalition began investigating this in the 80s and 90s," said Emerald.

This week, San Diegans can take a free quiz to see if their home has lead. They can also see if they qualify for grant money that would clean up lead paint problems.

There is free lead blood testing offered for children from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday at 841 S. 41st Street, San Diego, 92123.

The event is sponsored by the County of San Diego and various community partners.

The Centers for Disease Control says about 500,000 children who are 1 to 5 years old have elevated blood levels.

Emerald says part of this week's push is getting people to look at what their kids are playing with.

"Use a very inexpensive lead test to make sure you are not buying trouble for your child," said Emerald.

For more information, go to the city’s Lead Safety and Healthy Homes Program website at

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