Lead poisoning concerns in East Moline

One family speaks up after daughter is poisoned by lead-based paint

What they thought was just a few bad days, quickly turned into a parent's nightmare.

Victoria Wells says shortly after she moved into her East Moline home in June, she started to see drastic changes in her 2-year-old daughter Stormy's behavior. 

"She was bouncing, her eyes were big, she was just...I mean everything and anything and anywhere and everywhere," said Wells.

She says Stormy's blood tests shows her lead levels reach 20. The starting threshold for lead at the state level is 10.

Now she says the diagnosis has turned life for the family upside down, and she's warning others about the dangers lurking in homes. 

"My whole life has changed. I'm raising a child that I can't help," said Wells. 

Well's mother, Patricia Guinn, lives with the family and has watched her granddaughter change first-hand.

"It's been a nightmare because that little girl was sweet. She used to walk around...singing and dancing and this is all we get now."

Wells says the house tested positive for lead, and inspectors told her the stairwell to the second floor posed the biggest threat. She says the dust from walking up and down the stairs is a serious hazard to her daughter. As a result, they moved everything they own to the main floor of the house, avoiding the stairwell entirely unless they need the second floor bathroom. 

 "I wash her hands and feet all the time. Keep her clean, wash her toys, I sweep every day, I wash the floors every other day," said Wells.  

Wells said when she moved into the 2-story home in the 1500 block of 9th Ave in East Moline, she was never told about lead-based paint. She says she's reached out to the landlord about the situation. She claims management knows about the paint in the home and did not post any warning in their recent Craigslist ad for the house

Now she wants out of a house that has her living in fear, but she has nowhere to go.

"I wouldn't have thought twice because had I known for even a second about lead, I would not have put my daughter in this house, never."

While they're working closely with the Rock Island County Health Department they still aren't sure of the scope of the problem.

"This can be permanent, what she does now could be permanent," said Guinn.  

Wells says her daughter will undergo further testing in Iowa City next month. 

For now they are warning others, hoping change comes soon for children like Stormy. 

"Everybody: if you have a child please make sure there's no lead in the house because it's horrible what it does to these little ones," said Guinn.  

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