WACO, TX — A room full of city leaders rose to their feet Tuesday afternoon as they welcomed U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson to Waco.
Carson stopped by the Dewey Community Center in Waco to present a $1.5 million check that will go toward protecting children and families from lead-based paint and home health hazards.
Carson said lead poisoning and its impact on children is uniquely personal for him.
"Prior to becoming the HUD secretary, my life's work as a pediatric neurosurgeon was to heal, treat and protect the human brain," Carson said. "From doctor, to surgeon, to head of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins. I was made acutely aware of the pernicious effects of lead poisoning on a child's mental and physical development."
According to the CDC, exposure to high levels of lead may cause anemia, weakness and kidney and brain damage.
In 2016, the Waco-McLennan County Public Health District reported that four percent of children had elevated levels of lead in their blood.