After the Jessamine County Homeless Coalition discovered it bought a Nicholasville property, with high levels of lead and arsenic, questions have surfaced about lead poisoning.

The property at 506 Broadway St. once had a school on the property, and many who attended the school are asking if there’s a possibility they were exposed to lead and arsenic.

The neighborhood surrounding the property is curious to know if it’s been exposed to lead poisoning, as the soil analysis chart the Homeless Coalition shows lead levels are eight times the legal limit.

Dr. Ryan Stanton, FOX56’s chief medical contributor, said lead poisoning is rare nowadays, and the likelihood that neighboring houses are at risk is unlikely.

“It has to be ingested, whether it’s breathed, whether it’s inhaled, or whether it’s eaten,” Stanton said. “So it being in the ground by itself is not sufficient enough in terms in order to elevate the lead levels for children. Even if a lot of dust is getting kicked up, then there could be some ingestion, but typically not to the levels necessary to cause significant harm.”

After 1978, Stanton said lead-based paint was banned, which removed the common risk of children getting lead poisoning. Children would be crawling around and eating the paint chips with lead in them, and it tasted sweet. Lead was also in the water pipes before 1978, and that was another way children were ingesting lead.

Since lead was banned in paint, pipes, and even gasoline, Stanton said that over the decades, the necessity to test for lead poisoning decreased. 

A 2016 CDC report shows that most central Kentucky counties tested less than three percent of children for lead poisoning.

Last year, the CDC granted Kentucky $350,000 to boost lead-poisoning testing in the state.

However, Stanton explained that testing for lead poisoning is down because pediatricians would rather test for more prominent illnesses.

“There’s so much stuff we have to do for children when they’re young, between testing and vaccinations,” Stanton said. “You don’t want something that’s going to be, you know, potentially in this case, somebody who’s seen thousands and thousands of children and only seen one elevated level. And so where is the juice worth the squeeze with regard to is this where we need to be putting the health care dollars?”


Stanton said if parents want to test their kids, it should be done before the age of two, and children on Medicaid are required to be tested.

Stanton said one sign that a child has eaten lead is stains on their teeth.

Stanton said one sign that a child has eaten lead would stain colorations on their teeth.