Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-27) and Erie County Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Anthony Billittier announced that Erie County will receive $3 million in lead hazard control funds from the United State Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
“Lead poisoning presents a human impact that is devastating and long-term,” said Congressman Higgins. “The good news is lead poisoning is also preventable. Through this grant Erie County will be able to provide education and mitigation efforts to those most at risk of lead exposure.”
The federal grant will allow for lead control activities in 80 housing units chosen through inspections of foster homes found to present lead paint hazards and another 70 units determined to be in need through LeadSafe Erie County’s network of community partners. In addition, 25 family and group day care facilities will be targeted for assistance.
Dr. Billittier stated, “The news of this award comes at a time when we here in Erie County are making great strides to reduce and ultimately eliminate lead poisoning in our children. The infusion of $3 million into our lead abatement program is greatly welcomed.”
It is estimated that the lead hazard control efforts administered through this grant will allow for the immediate protection of 500 children and shield thousands more children who will reside or attend daycare in these sites in the years to come.
LeadSafe Erie County is a program offered through the Erie County Department of Health that provides in-home lead risk assessments, lead poisoning prevention education and lead hazard control supplies and labor for qualifying property owners, families and daycare providers who meet eligibility requirements.
Dr. Billittier added, “This funding will allow my staff to continue to make significant progress on a problem that continues to plague our community.”
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) approximately 310,000 U.S. children aged 1-5 years have blood lead levels greater than 10 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood, the level at which CDC recommends public health actions be initiated. Lead-based paint is the major source of exposure for lead in U.S. children. Houses built before 1978 are likely to contain some lead-based paint. Lead poisoning can cause learning disabilities, behavioral problems, and, at very high levels, seizures, coma, and even death.
Additional information on lead poisoning is available on the Erie County Health Department website at http://www.erie.gov/health/healthinfo/family_leadpoisioning.asp