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HUD BUDGET WOULD BOOST FUNDING FOR LEAD HAZARD CONTROL BY 40 PERCENT
WASHINGTON - The Department of Housing and Urban Development budget that President Clinton proposed to Congress would increase funding to control lead hazards in and around housing by $25 million to a total of $85 million in 1999 - a 40 percent increase over this year, Secretary Andrew Cuomo said.
Nearly 5 percent of American children ages 1-5 suffer from lead poisoning - amounting to almost 1 million children. Among low-income children living in older housing, 16 percent suffer from lead poisoning. For African American children living in older housing, the lead poisoning rate soars to 22 percent.
"America's children need and deserve our protection from lead poisoning," Cuomo said. "Our goal is to eliminate this terrible - and totally preventable - environmental hazard so that more children have the opportunity for healthy lives."
High blood levels of lead can cause permanent damage to the nervous system and widespread health problems. Effects include reduced intelligence and attention span, hearing loss, stunted growth, reading and learning problems, and behavior difficulties.
Lead is most hazardous to children under age six, because their still-developing nervous systems are particularly vulnerable. In addition, their normal play activities can expose them to lead-contaminated dust, soil and paint chips.
The budget dedicates $25 million to implement a new Healthy Homes Initiative, which was created to address other childhood hazards frequently found in combination with lead-based paint hazards.
Another $50 million would be used for grants to states to help private owners of low-income housing built before 1978 (when lead-based paint was outlawed as a health hazard) to remove lead-based paint hazards. Hazards can include lead-contaminated paint, dust and soil.
In addition, the funds can be used for blood testing of young children, inspection and testing of homes for lead hazards, temporary relocation of families during lead control work, community education and outreach, and collection and analysis of data on lead hazards.
Another $10 million would be used to fund technical research studies on lead hazard reduction.
Content Archived: January 20, 2009