UNLV is working to make some of the oldest homes in Las Vegas safer.
The team at UNLV is looking for lead. Every painted wall in the homes they look at will get tested. Just one inspection could take six hours.
"A lot of our participants did not realize that lead-based paint was still a hazard in homes," said Erin Sheehy, the program manager of the Las Vegas lead hazard control and healthy homes program.
Over the years, the team at UNLV has removed several pots from valley homes that were used to cook beans. They had to be removed because they presented dangerously high levels of lead. Since these were used for cooking, it was essentially poisoning entire families.
This is something they've done before. They're bringing it to Las Vegas because 80 percent of the homes they tested in Henderson had lead.
"We were surprised that we found lead in so many homes," said Sheehy.
UNLV faculty and students are working with the city of Las Vegas on a $1.8 million U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development grant to offer free repairs on the city’s oldest homes. They're focusing on four zip codes, but anyone in Las Vegas can get involved.
The four zip codes are 89101, 89106, 89107 and 89108.
The youngest family members are the most vulnerable.
"The paint chips are sweet like candy so it rewards the brain like candy when they do eat the paint chips," said Sheehy.
Given how much lead they found in Henderson, the team is ready to remove a lot of lead paint at no cost to homeowners.
To see if your home could be inspected, contact Earlie King with the City of Las Vegas at 702-229-5935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.