You might recall the case from about 2 years ago when a Wellesley couple faced criminal charges after a Department of Health investigation raised questions about whether the Ellis family had neglected to address alleged lead paint violations in their home (more reports on the initial case here and here). The investigation started after one of the Ellis children was found to have a high blood lead level, a result the state suspected came from lead paint in the Wellesley home but that the couple insisted more likely came from a toy necklace that the child owned before even moving into the house, which cost tens of thousands of dollars to de-lead. The couple eventually got the criminal charges dropped.
Last week, State Rep. Alice Peisch, who represents Wellesley, filed a bill seeking to eliminate criminal penalties for failure to de-lead owner-occupied dwellings without first showing that lead in the dwelling caused elevated blood lead levels in children living there. The bill also attempts to encourage inspection of all objects likely to cause elevated blood levels in children, such as the toy at the center of the Ellis situation. Jane Ellis, the mom whose daughter was found to have a raised blood lead level, worked with Peisch to create the bill and spoke to the House committee about her experience. She pointed out that her daughter’s blood lead level actually fell after they moved into the Wellesley home and that after remediation the blood levels of all 3 Ellis kids rose.