OLYMPIA – Every year, the Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program at the Washington State Department of Health identifies more than 500 kids in Washington with elevated blood lead levels. The leading cause of that lead exposure comes from lead paint dust inside their own home.
Health officials at DOH were recently awarded $3.3 million in grant funding to address lead hazards in homes for low-income families with children. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development will provide $2.8 million to remove lead paint in 150 housing units. Another $574,000 will provide healthy housing services to low-income families with children.
“Lead exposure disproportionately affects low-income and minority children. These funds will allow us to address lead at the source. We’ll be able to remove lead from the homes these kids live in and prevent other children from being poisoned in that same house,” said Rad Cunningham, DOH Built Environment section manager.
Using housing age data, city size, geography and childhood lead poisoning surveillance information, DOH identified 12 cities to direct lead paint reduction work. The cities are: Kelso, Hoquiam, SeaTac, Tukwila, Aberdeen, Bremerton, Burien, Centralia, White Center, Spokane, Tacoma and Longview.
DOH will perform healthy home assessments and partner with medical and social services providers to ensure low income families with children are living in safer homes.