"MILLS KILLS #25" BACK IN HEADLINES!!
Always the athlete who looked like he was running in ‘LEAD NIKES’ because of his natural LACK of speed, Shayne Mills, ironically, is back in the news for just that – LEAD. This time, he’s doing what he should’ve done on the 43-TRAP; he’s getting away from the LEAD…fast!!
Shayne Mills and Samantha Staley watch certified lead assessor Joe Zwissler test a family antique for lead during an inspection of their new rental home in St. Petersburg’s Old Northeast neighborhood. The couple is expecting a daughter this month. Staley, 34, and Mills, 38, feel that they have no choice but to figure it out. They’re trying to keep lead from reaching their unborn child, a girl to be named Sierra. It seems a daunting task.
“Now I’m thinking about all the gifts I got at the baby shower,” says Stayley. “What toys are safe? What toys aren’t safe?”
She and Mills found out their St. Petersburg rental home may contain lead when they signed the lease in mid November. They knew little about lead, but grew concerned. They learned of a Pinellas County Health Department program: pay $75 to $125 and a lead investigator would search their home for lead.
Joe Zwissler has been an environmental specialist with the Health Department for 16 years. At Stayley and Mills’ home, Zwissler finds lead on the doors, the windows, the kitchen wall, some tiles in the bathroom. Zwissler then tests the couple’s household items:
The baby spoons and the rattle? Negative.
The chess sets from Poland and Peru? A trace amount.
The San Francisco music box the new mom had planned to put on the baby’s dresser? Don’t put it there.
Zwissler also finds a lot of lead in Mills’ cream-colored University of Southern California fraternity beer mug.
“I drank a lot of beer out of that, I mean beer after beer,” Mills says.
He originally thought his girlfriend was overreacting. Now the father-to-be is worried.
A few days later, Zwissler calls back with the results of the dust in the baby’s room — a high lead reading, too high for comfort. The landlord tells Staley and Mills that she can’t afford the tens of thousands of dollars it will cost to remove the lead from the home. She would rather have them move out to be safe. So with weeks to go before Sierra arrives, Staley and Mills begin looking for another place.
“The idea of moving again, it’s just the last thing I want, ” Staley said. “But when you’re talking about the life of a child, you can’t afford to mess around. It doesn’t matter if we have to move 10 times. You do what’s right for the child.”