HUD Archives: News Releases

Kristine Foye
(617) 994-8218
For Release
November 8, 2007

Funding part of $150 million awarded nationwide

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development today announced $770,702 in funding to the City of Cambridge to help protect children and families from dangerous lead-based paint and other home health and safety hazards. The funding, part of nearly $150 million awarded nationwide, is designed to help the City of Cambridge identify and clean up potential lead-based hazards in older, privately owned low-income homes. Lead is a known
toxin that can impair children's development and may even cause death at high levels.

"We are making our homes safer and healthier places in which to raise our children," said HUD regional director
Taylor Caswell. "While we've made great progress in reducing lead poisoning, we will continue working with communities such as Cambridge until this preventable disease is banished for good."

This competitive funding will support the City's Lead Safe Cambridge program and is provided through HUD's Lead-Based Paint Hazard Control grant program. Lead Safe Cambridge targets low- and very-low income families that are living in unsafe pre-1978 housing. As it has since 1995, the program will continue to provide education and outreach as well as treatment for lead paint hazards and contaminated soil.

The City of Cambridge has an excellent track record administering HUD funding. With previous grants totaling $11.2 million, the city has been able to abate 738 housing units and to mitigate 250 yards with lead hazards. "Many homeowners and painters don't realize that their home improvement projects may disturb old layers of lead paint,"
said Toni Snow, program manager for Lead Safe Cambridge. "Recent news has alerted the public to the presence
of lead paint in toys and jewelry, but it is important for families to remember that the most prevalent cause of childhood lead poisoning is from lead paint found in homes built before 1978. In families with children under the age
of six, the greatest danger for spreading toxic lead dust can come from owners, tenants, and workers who do not
use lead-safe work practices while painting and/or renovating."

The funding is part of $7.5 million being awarded in Massachusetts this year. Also receiving grants are the City of Lawrence ($3 million), the City of Worcester ($2.9 million), and the Boston Medical Center ($855,655). HUD's Office
of Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Control supports local efforts to eliminate dangerous lead and other hazards
from lower income homes; stimulates private sector investment in lead hazard control; educates the public about
the dangers of lead-based paint; and supports scientific research into innovative methods to identify and eliminate health hazards in housing.

Even though lead-based paint was banned for use in the home in 1978, HUD estimates approximately 24 million
homes nationwide still have significant lead-based paint hazards today. Lead-contaminated dust is the primary
cause of lead exposure and can lead to a variety of health problems in young children including reduced IQ, learning disabilities, developmental delays, reduced height, and impaired hearing. At higher levels, lead can damage a child's kidneys and central nervous system and cause anemia, coma, convulsions and even death.

HUD and two of its federal agency partners, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention, operate the National Lead Information Clearinghouse, where parents, property owners, and other members of the public can get information about lead hazards and their prevention. The Clearinghouse has a
toll free number, (800) 424-LEAD, and a website (, both of which provide information in English and Spanish.


Content Archived: June 27, 2011