Child Lead Poisoning Persists In Jamestown

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JAMESTOWN, NY (WNY News Now) — Lead poisoning dangers continue to be a big problem in the City of Jamestown, with around 60 school children testing positive for elevated lead levels each year.

This startling statistic was revealed by Chautauqua County’s Healthy at Home Coalition Director during a recent Jamestown City Council meeting. 

To make matters worse, statistics confirm around 700 or 800 children enrolled within the Jamestown Public Schools District are marked as having potential impacts due to adolescent lead exposure.

If a child is exposed to lead paint, the toxic chemical could cause a permanent change in both learning and behavioral patterns.

It was common in the mid 1900’s for lead paint to be used in residential homes. Only after decades of use, health experts discovered that the mixture was highly toxic.

With a majority of the area’s housing stock built in the mid 1900’s, many homes harbor this toxin. In fact, the pearl city is listed as one of the top areas for lead poisoning in the state.

“Jamestown has the seventh highest zip code for the number, not rate, the number of lead poisoned children of all zip codes outside of New York City in New York State,“ explained Lisa Schmidtfrerick-Miller. “So it is a significant issue here, and I’m just hoping to continue to have attention on this topic. Because it is a very important piece of housing and how we address and why we address housing issues.”   

County health officials acknowledged that completely eliminating lead poisoning hazards seems like an impossible task, however, there are solutions to help mitigate health issues.

One proposal would be to apply a new product to neutralize the paint. 

Currently, the health department maintains a program to address lead hazards. A full list of services preventing and removing lead paint is posted online at Chautauqua County’s website.


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