By Pat Warren

BALTMORE (WJZ)– HUD secretary and former Johns Hopkins neurosurgeon Ben Carson checked up on lead paint removal in Baltimore Thursday.

Carson expressed personal interest in what he calls the devastating effects of lead poisoning in children.

This has been a known health issue and priority in the City for years.

“It really is quite devastating. A lot of times we think of the acute increased lead level in the blood and inconveniences but these have a profound effect on a person’s development,” Carson said.

“You can’t sleep knowing that your child, there’s something wrong with her but you don’t know what it is,” one parent told WJZ.

“Knowing that my daughter still has to worry about education as she grows up, worrying about if she can ever keep a job,” parent Tamika Witherspoon said.

Two years ago HUD awarded a $4 million grant for screening and elimination of lead in homes.

“This was my house but they came in and fixed everything up and this is my home now. So I can truly say the lead program has really been a blessing to me,” said Linda Herndon, who shares her home with her grandchildren.

Dr Carson, who said he’s spent the vast majority of his life in Baltimore, would like to see more blessings.

“I would love it if we had unlimited money. We could just go up and down the street and re-mediate every house that was built before 1978 but I think they’re doing a very good job with the resources that are available,” Carson said.

Between 75 percent and 95 percent of homes built before 1980 are estimated to contain lead paint.

According to the Maryland Department of Health, exposure to lead is the most widespread environmental hazard for children in the State.

Dr. Carson has made several stops in Baltimore during the past two days.

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