April 17, 2013

Keeping Children and Families Living Free from Lead Contamination

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This post is also available in: Spanish

Parents and grandparents worry about their children.  It’s inevitable: they wonder if they’re safe on their way to work and school, and ensure they have nourishing food and shelter.

But we don’t often think about the dangers lurking on the walls, windows and floors of our homes.   Contamination from lead based paint, and particularly lead dust, can cause serious harm to children, pregnant women, and families. It is my job to make sure that governments and  organizations that receive federal funding from HUD have the information they need to be able to assist the families they serve so they can live in homes free of lead hazards .

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Office of Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Control (OHHLHC) was created to eliminate lead-based paint hazards in privately-owned and low-income housing. Lead paint can be found in homes built before 1978 and lead from paint, chips, and dust can cause serious health problems that include damage to the nervous system, learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder, decreased intelligence, speech, language, and behavior problems among many others.

OHHLHC provides grants to state and local governments to assess and remediate lead-based paint hazards. In addition, the office enforces HUD’s lead-based paint regulations, provides public outreach and technical assistance, and conducts technical studies to help protect children and their families from health and safety hazards in the home.

For more information visit the HUD website and look up Healthy Homes Lead Disclosure Rule. There you can find pamphlets in English and multiple languages that can be downloaded and detail what to look for, and what to do if you think you might be living with lead hazards in your home.

Contact your local Healthy Homes Representative (see healthyhomes.hud.gov, OHHLHC Staff Directory)  to find out how to apply for a Healthy Homes grant or when Healthy Homes training is being offered.  Colleagues like me all over the country want to assist stakeholders and environmental officers to better understand the Lead Safe Housing Rule and Lead Disclosure Rule program requirements so that children, grandchildren, pregnant women, and loving families keep their homes free from lead hazards.

Susan Horowitz, Health Homes Representative for Region 2, NY & NJ

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