Dundalk mom named to Lead Poisoning Prevention Commission
Wednesday, 03 September 2014 13:17

Witherspoon’s daughter Dallas was exposed to lead

 by Ben Boehl

    Dundalk resident Tameka Witherspoon wanted to become an advocate for lead poisoning awareness after her two-year-old daughter Dallas was diagnosed with lead poisoning.
    Perhaps a position on the Maryland Lead Poisoning Prevention Commission is a good start. Witherspoon became one of 11 members of the commission on Aug. 19 — and the only one who is the parent of an affected child.
    “It is important for me to get on the committee because I am a parent who doesn’t like to see kids suffer from someone else’s doing. I want to be a part of something that’s going to make a difference in our community,” Witherspoon told The Eagle in a recent interview.
    “[I don’t want to be] sitting home and wondering about the “what ifs” when I can be out there helping make a difference.”
    As described by the Maryland Department of the Environment, the commission is drawn from different sectors including owners of rental properties, a representative of a child health or youth advocacy group, a representative of a financial institution that makes loans secured by a rental property, a representative of    local government and others from the community.
    Witherspoon was nominated to join the commission by fellow committee member Barbara A. Moore in February.
    “After visiting with her doctors at Mt. Washington [Pediatric Hospital] and telling them the ideas I had to help spread the word on lead awareness, they gave me an application for the governor’s commission,” Witherspoon said. 

“I filled it out three months ago. I received a phone call stating my application was approved and I should be receiving an appointment letter to go take my oath. I took my oath [on Aug. 21].”
    Witherspoon became a voice for lead poisoning awareness after two-year-old Dallas was exposed to lead when the family was living at an apartment complex in Old Dundalk last fall. 
    According to medical records, Dallas’ blood lead level was 32 micrograms per deciliter. Witherspoon said Dallas is showing signs of improvement.
    “Dallas is doing good. She goes back to her primary doctor in October for blood work. She had blood work done last month and her levels are a 7,” Witherspoon explained.
    “I’m very pleased. Two more levels to go. Levels under 5 is what I’m going for.”