Testing for lead

A Grand Haven family's home has become a source of serious health problems, especially for the children, as some of it tested positive for dangerous levels of lead.
Krystle Wagner
Mar 20, 2013

The Reaume family's home in the 900 block of Slayton Avenue has been under renovation this week to make it safe. A construction company crew is removing and updating the stairs, windows and some paint that had tested positive for lead-based material.

Nitosha and Kyle Reaume bought the home in December 2011, but they weren’t aware at the time of any lead-based material in it, although they signed a waiver because the home was built before 1978.

Nitosha said they first became aware of the problem in September 2012 when their children's doctor discovered during their annual checkups that both children had elevated blood-lead levels.

While normal levels are 10 micrograms per deciliter of lead in a child's blood and less than 20 micrograms per deciliter in an adult's blood, the Reaumes' 1-year-old son was at 15 and their 2-year-old daughter was at 28.

“I was very concerned,” Nitosha said.

Nitosha and Kyle were also tested, but their blood-lead levels were less than 1 deciliter.

The family stayed out of their home for nearly two weeks as they researched their options. When they returned, they took precautions to prevent further exposure by placing plastic over the windows and adding a layer of non-lead paint to the steps.

Nitosha said she thinks her daughter’s levels were higher than her son's because the girl would climb the stairs by herself, whereas they carried their little boy up the stairs.

To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.

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