Niagara County Department of Health Receives $2.75 Million Award for Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction and Healthy Homes Interventions

The Niagara County Department of Health has been awarded a Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Program grant in the amount of $2.75 million from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The original award of $2 million was increased by $750,000–with $500,000 designated for lead hazard reduction and $250,000 designated for other healthy homes interventions. The award will fund a project to identify and remove lead-based paint hazards in homes across Niagara County, focusing on lead hazard control in the homes of the most vulnerable families in our communities.

“These crucial funds help to ensure our communities have the support and resources necessary to prevent lead poisoning in children,” stated Daniel J. Stapleton, Public Health Director.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has stated that there is no safe blood lead level in children. Lead exposure commonly occurs in older homes, where lead remains in paint, dust and soil that children unintentionally ingest through normal hand-to-mouth behavior. Lead was banned from use in residential paints in 1978. Persons living and working in residential structures built before 1978 may be exposed to lead hazards.

“We will be working with contractors to remove lead hazards in eligible homes with children under 6 years old”, stated Paul Dicky, Director of Environmental Health. Funds will be utilized to conduct lead hazard control by EPA certified lead abatement contractors in homes built prior to 1978 with identified lead hazards. The program targets the cities of Niagara Falls and Lockport but will also include homes of lead poisoned children in other parts of the County. To determine if you qualify for free or low-cost lead-based paint hazard reduction and healthy homes interventions, please call the Lead Safe Niagara County program at (716) 278-8268.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), lead causes serious damage to children’s brains leading to developmental as well as behavioral problems. Lead poisoning results in destructive and irreversible effects upon the human nervous system and bones.

“We must protect families from this toxin. I applaud the Niagara County Department of Health for securing this funding, and continue to support efforts to ensure our families are healthy and safe,” stated W. Keith McNall, Chairman of the Niagara County Legislature.

The Niagara County Department of Health’s efforts to reduce lead exposures and prevent lead poisoning include a wide range of activities including prevention, education, surveillance, elevated blood level follow-up for children, environmental exposure reduction etc. Niagara County Department of Health urges all parents of children 6 yrs. and younger to consult with their physician about the need to test for elevated blood lead levels. Your child must have at least 2 blood tests for lead. These are usually performed at their one- and two-year old appointments. However, if you have recently renovated or believe your child has been exposed to lead, talk to your physician about having it checked again.

The work that provided the basis for this publication was supported by funding under an award with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The substance and findings of the work are dedicated to the public. The author and publisher are solely responsible for the accuracy of the statements and interpretations contained in this publication. Such interpretations do not necessarily reflect the views of the Government.