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Milwaukee girl dealing with lasting impacts from lead poisoning

Posted at 10:45 PM, Mar 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-22 23:45:31-04

Natalie Payne's 5-year-old daughter, Caleah, is dealing with the lasting impacts of lead poising.

In 2016, Caleah was tested for lead. Natalie said at first Caleah started at a six but the levels then quickly rose.

According to the CDC, levels above five are considered lead poisoned. The city ordered abatement of the windows, but Natalie says the problems continued. Natalie expressed her concerns to health care providers about the water in her home.

"I feel like they should have taken the water thing more seriously," Natalie said. "They could have really stepped in before it got that bad."

Natalie said her daughter's levels skyrocketed to over 50 and she spent almost a week in the hospital. Natalie was emotional expressing how at one point, she felt guilty.

"Nobody should have to go through that especially not a baby," she said.

Natalie said it was hard for the family of five to find new housing and there was limited information on the effects of lead.

The Health Department has admitted in the past, there were families that fell through the cracks. They said through new leadership, they are working to identify those families to make sure they get the appropriate support and help.

"We are going back and working on some of these historical cases that were not followed up properly, " Director of Disease Control and Environmental Health said. "If we have any doubt they were not followed up properly we are doing phone calls to track people down to see if an offered service if there is any doubt something, was missed either on the nursing side or environmental side."

They are also working on providing families with information on preventative measures and ways they can stay lead safe.

"Lead is neurological so if we can get to them and get to them early we can make referrals," Hagy said.

The family has moved to a new apartment and Caleah's levels are now down to 18 but the family is still living with lead.

"We just got a letter from the city that there is lead in the pipes," Natalie said.

Natalie hopes by sharing her story no family will go through what their family is going through. There is a GoFund me account to help Caleah with therapy, to donate, click here.

The Health Department is holding their first ever Lead-Safe Milwaukee Resource Fair in April.

To find out more information by clicking here.