Jamestown Mom Demands Accountability After Her Son’s Lead Poisoning

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JAMESTOWN, NY (WNY News Now) — A Jamestown mother, whose child has been permanently impacted by lead poisoning, is speaking out to demand accountability of the city’s polluted housing stock. 

Mother Jade Shirey’s 3-year-old son now suffers from a plethora of mental and physical disabilities due to his lead paint exposure at her Jamestown home. 

“He is verbally and cognitively delayed,“ explained Shirey. “He does not speak so there is no communication, as far as his needs, his wants, his desires. It ends up in a lot of temper tantrums, meltdowns, I can’t usually take him to public places because he screams and yells a lot. It becomes a difficult task just to get him dressed in the morning, to get him some breakfast because he can’t tell me what he would like.”    

The mother called on lawmakers in Jamestown on Monday to address the problem that she believes is completely preventable.

“There is no reason why we should still have lead in homes in this city,“ stated Shirey. “It is, I get it, an expensive fix but we are spending money either way. We are either going to spend it and be proactive, and getting lead out of homes, or we are going to spend it reactive.”

Similar to health inspections at local businesses, Shirey’s solution is to hold landlords accountable.

“The county can go into a restaurant right,“ explained Shirey. “You choose to enter a restaurant and get food, and the county can go in at any point in time and do an inspection, and violate them, and shut them down, and close the doors, so they can no longer make money off of ill will off of human lives.”

Her son’s poisoning has greatly impacted his life.

“There’s hopes in any situation that progress will be able to be made,“ said Shirey. “But, and this is per the CDC the behavioral and cognitive effects of lead are believed to be irreversible. So while we hope that maybe we can communicate with him in some way, there is no guarantee that he will ever get any better than what he is right now.  

Jamestown’s Director of Development, Crystal Surdyk tells us that while she is on board for keeping the landlords accountable, there is currently no ordinance to do so, but they are in the works.

A full look at Shirey’s remarks to the Housing Committee is posted on WNY News Now’s YouTube page


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