BYWATER—Andrea Young was never worried about lead poisoning, until she had her daughter tested. The lead in her body approached an unsafe level, so Andrea took action. "I had the house tested, we had our house remediated, thought that secured the problem- after that her lead levels went up."
It wasn't just her daughter. Andrea tested her son Simsim- his levels were even higher. She joined a group called NOLA Unleaded, searching for solutions.
The group discovered Tulane Professor Howard Mielke, who found the soil at Mickey Markey park was contaminated with lead. It's a popular spot for locals who bring their children and their pets. Bywater resident Chip Wilson says, "As the leading dog park, it's hugely crowded, especially weekends, evenings, early morning."
However, parents in the small Bywater community aren't the only ones concerned. Toxicity has been an ongoing problem across the City of New Orleans.
Chip continues, "New Orleans has always been an industrial port city and let's be honest here, we've always been lax about our environmental standards here."
It'll take a community to change that. Andrea hopes the city will enforce code that prohibits sanding lead paint and she wants more parks to be tested. Her biggest fear is that her childrens' health is out of her hands. "You do everything you can to keep your children safe. We had our house, backyard, everything remediated and then I find that the kids levels are even higher. You don't know where it's coming from, you can't figure it out. It's a feeling of complete helplessness."
The City of New Orleans was unavailable to speak on camera, but did release a statement. The mayor's office said it believes the public health risk is minimal. However, the site will undergo additional testing and results are expected back this week.