I finally found a decent picture of the vintage army trunk that poisoned myself as a teen and my baby (now 7). I purchased it from a flea market to keep my records in and someone before me had painted it an obnoxious green so my plan was to strip it and repaint it something authentic. My mom had no issue with this and I began the work, maybe 13 or 14 years old. It was really hard to strip the paint off and now I know why!
I was 27 when I had my son and I had always had this trunk and so probably continually poisoned myself. I believe I gave him lead in utero and/or through my milk. He was failure to thrive, very irritable, terrible sleeper, and delayed in all gross and fine motor. He was 16 months in this picture and could crawl and pull to stand. He had is lead tested at WIC at 6, 12, and 18 months. The 18 months number was higher than 12 months and even though the doctor had nothing to say about it, I jumped into action.
I had heard about Tamara’s work a few months or so before this and she was able to send me swabs. I was sure it was our radiators in our old apartment in Chicago, but it wasn’t. It was my trunk. I did not know at the time that there was anything I should do besides get rid of the item, which I did but it took me a while to find a way to get it down to the dumpster as a single parent. I did write all over it in permanent marker so someone didn’t pull it out to keep. Before I took it out, I covered it in a folded sheet to keep his hands off of it, and I’m sure I vacuumed when I removed it.
We both have lasting affects from lead. Most notably my son has global hypotonia, growth delays, and anxiety. I have numerous health conditions that could be connected, but as a teen I developed anxiety, OCD, depression, self harm, and barely survived high school. This is why I am here.
This is why I am passionate about learning about lead and helping others.
Lead is not only found in vintage and older items. It is not only found in homes built before 1978. I could walk into any home goods store today and definitely find something with lead on it (household keys, lead curtain weights, most dishes, garden hoses, costume jewelry, crayons, to name a few). And just because you or your parents survived, doesn’t mean it didn’t do lasting damage to you and have an impact on your long term health and genetics.