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CUOMO AWARDS $4 MILLION TO REDUCE LEAD-BASED PAINT HAZARDS FOR FAMILIES IN LOW-INCOME HOUSING IN WESTCHESTER COUNTY
Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo today awarded $4 million in grants to protect families living in low-income housing in Westchester County from the health hazards of lead-based paint.
The HUD funds will be used by the County Department of Planning in collaboration with the Department of Health to address lead hazards in 450 homes. The project will provide assistance for lead hazard control in an estimated 100 privately owned, rental and owner-occupied units and 350 Section 8 Tenant Based housing units. The grant program in Westchester County will include a funding for 50 low income and unemployed members of the community to participate in an EPA-accredited lead worker certification training program.
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 Westchester County 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 Westchester County in a telephone conference call today with County Executive Andy Spano.
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-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/lea
Content Archived: January 20, 2009