Lead paint hazard found at Richmond daycare; here’s what parents need to know

Taking Action

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A Richmond daycare center has been issued a violation notice for a lead paint hazard. 

The Tuckaway Ellwood House located in Carytown was first issued the violation this past spring after a complaint was filed the Virginia Department Of Social Services, the agency that licenses daycare centers.

The Richmond Health District assisted with an inspection and found chipping and peeling paint on the window sills, in the lunchroom and on the door trim of the baby’s room — all spots well within reach of the children.

Dr. Danny Avula, Public Health Director for Richmond and Henrico describes what inspectors saw: “Different spots throughout the facility, there was evidence of peeling or flaking paint, particularly along baseboards throughout the house.”

The Richmond Health District issued a ‘notice of violation for lead-based paint hazard’ and steps the daycare should take to remove it.

“When we did our dust samples, some of those dust samples came back positive for lead,” Dr. Avula explained, adding that lead paint in Richmond homes or facilities built before 1978 is not surprising.  

It becomes a concern, however, if it is chipping and steps are not taken to keep the paint from flaking. When health inspectors returned to the daycare center last month after another complaint, they found the daycare didn’t meet an October deadline for compliance.

“As we have gone back in recent inspections, we’ve seen that progress just isn’t being made as quickly as we would like, and at this point, there is a pending code enforcement court case in March of 2020,” says Dr. Avula.

The owner declined to talk on camera with 8News but tells us he has been working with the health department and a certified contractor to address it.  He says the contractor has been busy but is coming in next week. He shared a letter sent to parents stating the contractor will start work on Monday, January 27.

Elevated levels of lead can lead to developmental delays and other health problems. So far, there are no reports of a child with lead poisoning at the daycare, but Dr. Avula recommends parents get their child tested.

“Any parent should go into their pediatrician and get their child’s blood tested for lead,” says Dr. Avula. 

He says blood lead testing is also advised on an annual basis for anyone living in a home or who spends a lot of time in a facility built before 1978. 

If a child does show elevated lead levels of lead, they can quickly drop if the source of the problem is removed. 

The Richmond Health District’s Lead Safe and Healthy Homes Program is happy to answer parent’s questions. That number is 804-205-3727 or 804-205-3726.

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