Anti-lead initiative to get additional funding

Posted at 7:52 AM, Feb 29, 2016

An initiative targeted at reducing childhood lead poisoning will receive an additional $350,000 from New York State.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced Sunday that he is investing an additional $346,825 in the Buffalo Green and Healthy Initiative (GHHI Buffalo) to significantly increase the initiative’s home lead hazard intervention and remediation efforts. The funds, secured via the settlement of a lead contamination lawsuit against Mattel and Fisher-Price, will help address the severe lead contamination and childhood lead poisoning problem that has long-plagued Buffalo.

“As we have seen yet again with the recent lead contamination in the water supply of Flint, Michigan, investments must be made in lead intervention and remediation to prevent devastating health impacts, particularly for our children,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “Ending children’s exposure to lead in their homes and apartments is an environmental justice imperative.  My office will continue to take every measure we can to stop exposure to this insidious poison that robs children of their full potential and future.”

Lead contamination is a particularly significant challenge in Buffalo. Buffalo has the highest percentage of homes built before World War II of any large city in the nation. Because the housing stock is old, many homes pre-date the banning of lead paint. According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), lead-based paint is the most widespread and dangerous high-dose source of lead exposure for young children. Thousands of children in Erie County have already fallen victim to lead poisoning, with Buffalo as the problem’s epicenter. In Buffalo, children are testing positive at more than triple the state average, and one-third of all lead poisoning cases reported in New York State outside of New York City are located in areas of Buffalo.

The childhood lead poisoning prevention efforts funded by this investment will include lead hazard interventions such identifying at-risk children and promoting lead testing as well as remediation activities such as the removal of lead paint and window replacement.

Attorney General Schneiderman’s office is working with the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo to identify and recruit additional funding for providing home lead interventions and remediation through the GHHI Buffalo.