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Lead paint contamination closes Garner day care

Posted July 11, 2011
Updated July 12, 2011

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— A Garner day care center has closed its doors after county inspectors found hazardous levels of lead paint inside it, and many parents who utilized the facility are now having their children checked for possible exposure.

Ridoutt's Daycare Center, at 600 Saint Marys St., was in business for more than 60 years. Owners Chad and Candy Ridoutt said they put a sign on the door Friday stating they've closed until further notice due to lead paint contamination.

After several visits from Wake County's environmental services division in April, the Ridoutts said they received the environmental lead investigation report on July 5, which confirmed that the infant and kitchen areas at the facility contained hazardous levels of lead paint.

The county initiated an investigation after a routine sanitation inspection in March uncovered flaking paint at the facility.

Christy Harris, who worked at Ridoutt's for nine years before being laid off in February, said she noticed signs of possible lead paint exposure during her employment.

"We were all having headaches, stomachaches. The kids were always sick," Harris said.

Harris became pregnant with her now-5-year-old daughter, Logan, while employed at the center and the girl later attended the day care daily.

"She had asthma; it was particularly bad there. She was sick all the time – runny nose, coughing, fever, unexplained fevers," Harris said. "Since we've been gone, she's not complained of anything."

Lead paint contamination closes Garner daycare Lead paint contamination closes Garner daycare

On Monday, Harris, who is pregnant again, went to the doctor to have her and Logan tested for lead poisoning. She expects those test results Tuesday.

"I don't know what the repercussions for my daughter or myself are going to be from being in that environment," Harris said.

She's not alone. The Ridoutts told WRAL News that they've also had their children tested for lead poisoning.

Harris said many parents pulled their children out of the day care center before the county confirmed their suspicions that lead paint was present there.

"They would always tell me, 'It's the facility. We feel like something's not right here. We feel like we need to take out child out,'" Harris said.

In severe cases, lead poisoning can lead to coma, seizures and death. It interferes with the development of the nervous system, which can lead to learning and behavioral disorders, and is especially toxic for children.

Ridoutt's was given a superior sanitation classification, which is the highest available, from the Wake County Environmental Services department in March, before the flaking paint noted during the inspection tested positive for the presence of lead.


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  • hopenadeau Jul 15, 2011

    I dont care to hide who I am. My name is Hope and my daughter went to this daycare and I had to pull her out after I saw a teacher doing things she should not be doing and dont worry I contacted someone about this issue. On this matter my daughter was always sick there. So for JUSTMEHERE you dont know what your talking about this is a serious matter and Christy Im so glad that you spoke up. Im very upset with this situation because I was not informed with a letter or anything I had to find out by another teacher that is also getting her kids checked out. This place was horrible! And for JUSTMEHERE again I am quoting on here and if someone wants to contact me they can. This child care was not a facility it was a place that people took your money and did not care what happened to your child! If you want to say anything else go ahead I will back christy and all the child that went there up. I am happy to hear that someone finally shut these people DOWN! It was about time.

  • christylogansmommy Jul 15, 2011

    @Just me here, It is because i care about the kids that i voiced my opinion!!! It was not a issue 6 YEARS AGO when i was pregnant. please get your facts straight before you mouth off. I was not angry because i was laid off. our number of kids was declining as one comment said. Parents needed to know that it was POTENTIALLY harmful and needed to know what other peple were not saying!!!Thank you for the comments that suported me and My test and my daughters came back negative for LEAD thank God!!!

  • JustMeHere Jul 13, 2011

    Seems kind of odd to me the only person that WRAL could quote in here was a laid off employee who, despite thinking there was a problem, continued to work there while pregnant and took her daughter there? No one said anything during all those years? Even parents who took their kids out knowing there was a problem? Great sense of responsibility and concern for our kids people.

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Jul 13, 2011

    @btneast, we have huge numbers of people who want to disband the EPA, FDA and other “unnecessary” government agencies. These are the same agencies that police places like this. They really do want to take us back to the Wild West days...when we had so much more freedom.

    There are many, many people who will seriously agree (and not be sarcastic) that private business, like this daycare, can self regulate. If a consumer doesn’t like it, s/he can choose another private company. The free market will provide.

    I’m harp on this self-defeating behavior for a reason. Their ignorant and/or selfish behavior will harm us all.

    People can’t know everything about everything (like the spread rates and patterns of airborn carcinogens). And, we can’t trust our health and safety of a product or service to people making a profit on the same product or service. Of course, that’s my opinion. YMMV

  • scifion Jul 13, 2011

    "when you are a baby you want to find out if it is tasty or not...so you lick it. If not tasty you move on, if tasty you have another lick."

    yep, and it doesn't help matters when lead oxide actually has a sweet taste. There are lots of things lead is good for, but house paint isn't one of them.

  • FromClayton Jul 13, 2011

    my 1 year old licked the coffee table last night for no good reason. He just decided it was there and wanted to know what it taste like. I'm sure many babies have been just as courious about the little paint flakes on several occasions. I would say the chances of them actually ingesting the paint is probably pretty high. when you are a baby you want to find out if it is tasty or not...so you lick it. If not tasty you move on, if tasty you have another lick. That's just how they explore their world. Therefore it is our job to make darn sure there is no lead paint on the walls and no bad chemicals on the coffee table.

  • meredith06alum Jul 12, 2011

    bring your kids to building blocks in clayton! we rock! :)

  • scifion Jul 12, 2011

    I ate lead paint chips as a kid, and now I'm living a great life as a poor neo-con patriot battling the great liberal conspiracy by listening to angry people on teevee and calling anyone who doesn't agree with me "liberal" and "socialist" on the interwebz.

  • geosol Jul 12, 2011

    It's all OK, the angry old rich man on the radio who tells me what to think said that everything is part of this huge "liberal conspiracy" to destroy the U.S.A., and all that we have to do is let those wonderful rich people and big corporations do whatever they want and then everyone will be happy, healthy, and RICH!!!!!

  • djofraleigh Jul 12, 2011

    My SinLaw worked in a battery plant and was exposed (probably due to her not following regs). When symptoms appear, they don't just appear that day you are there, but all the time. Her stomach and kidneys were bothering her. That's been 30 years ago. I think they leached some of it out, somehow.

    In preschoolers, lead is way worse. In every house over 35 years old, you are going to have lead paint. If that paint is allowed to flake, peel, or is sanded off, or given off in dust after remodeling, then kids would be exposed.

    I have an old set of penny street scales and over the years the sweeping rubbing the legs allowed lead dust to escape as the paint rubbed off. It's just that easy when the baby is crawling on the floor with the dust. Easier still if the baby is chewing on grandma's old crib, thru the latex or oil paint and down to the leaded paint that was originally put there.

    Driving a nail thru plaster might have discharged a measurable amount? Water, toys, on clothes?