Lead poisoning in California’s kids: Antonio’s story

While California’s lead poisoning cases have declined, especially over the last two decades, children’s advocates say the most vulnerable children are still at risk.

For three-year-old Antonio, who suffered hearing loss due to ingesting lead paint as a baby, he requires a team of experts to help him and his father navigate the myriad health, housing and other county systems.

Despite his setbacks, Antonio is fortunate to live in Alameda County, which has the resources to handle a complex case like his.

When Antonio was diagnosed with high lead levels, Alameda County stepped in to help find him and his father a new place to live. Today, they live in an apartment that is free of lead paint.

Alameda County can help Antonio in large part because its Lead Poisoning Prevention Program integrates the public health, environmental health and housing departments.

Property owners of houses built before 1978 pay the county a $10 annual fee to respond to lead hazards. It’s one of the only assessments of its kind in California. 

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