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HUD Archives: News Releases

HUD No. 99-31
Further Information:For Release
In the Washington, DC area: 202/708-0685Thursday
Or contact your local HUD officeFebruary 4, 1999


Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo today awarded $2.779 million in grants to protect families living in low-income housing in Maine from the health hazards of lead-based paint.

The HUD funds will be used by the Maine State Housing Authority to carry out lead-based paint hazard control activities in 230 low-income housing units built prior to 1968 that are occupied by children under six with known lead poisoning. The principal target areas are the cities of Bangor and Lewiston and selected rural areas of the state. The Maine State Housing Authority will administer a loan and grant program based upon income of the participants. Funds will be used to eliminate lead-based paint hazard in the affected homes.

Young children will benefit most from the grants, because the developing nervous systems of children under six are particularly vulnerable to damage from lead. In addition, the normal play activities of children can expose them to lead-based paint hazards, which can include lead-contaminated dust, soil and paint chips.

Exposure to 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.

"Children in Maine and throughout our nation 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."

Cuomo announced the aid to Maine in a telephone conference call today with Senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, Maine Governor Angus King, and Congressmen Tom Allen and John Baldacci.

Cuomo is awarding a total of $56.3 million in grants this week to state and local governments, non-profit community groups, public relations firms and research organizations around the country for the following activities:

  • Lead hazard control programs in privately owned low-income housing -- $50 million
  • Scientific research on lead-based paint -- $3.2 million
  • Local lead hazard awareness campaigns -- $1.6 million
  • National lead hazard awareness campaign -- $1.5 million

Lead-based paint was banned from use in private homes in 1978 to protect people from the hazards of lead. However, many older houses and apartments still have lead-based paint.

The Clinton Administration launched The Campaign for a Lead-Safe America -- and its slogan, "Take the Lead Against Lead" -- in 1997 with an initial $50 million in HUD grants.

The effort has brought the following groups together to protect the nation's children from lead poisoning: HUD, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Centers for Disease Control, state and local governments, business and industry, and groups involved in environmental issues and public health, along with parents and community groups.

Cuomo announced a new life-saving initiative last year that is using TV commercials, newspaper ads, millions of brochures and a toll-free information line to help parents protect their children from potentially deadly hidden dangers in their homes. The dangers associated with lead-paint poisoning are featured in this "Healthy Homes" initiative.

In addition, HUD and EPA continue to jointly fund a toll-free phone line (1-800-424-LEAD) to give callers information in English and Spanish about lead hazards and disclosure requirements for people selling and renting homes. Information is also available on HUD's internet site at www.hud.gov

Content Archived: January 20, 2009

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