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U.S. Department Of Housing And Urban Development’s Office Of Healthy Homes And Lead Hazard Control Program Provides Vital Funding To Rid Homes Of Lead Hazards, But House Republicans Have Proposed Slashing $35 Million In Fed Funding For Key Program 

Childhood Lead Poisoning Can Cause Permanent Health & Developmental Disabilities – Severe Cuts Would Make It Harder For Communities To Access Fed Dollars For Anti-Poisoning Efforts; Could Result In Estimated 3,400 Additional Cases Of Lead Poisoning In Kids Nationwide

Schumer: Lead-Poisoning Prevention Cuts Threaten Health And Safety Of New York’s Kids

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today urged his colleagues to vote against a House proposal to cut funding to a key program that supports anti-lead poisoning efforts across New York State and the nation. Schumer said the proposed $35 million in cuts to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)’s Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes (OLHCHH) could threaten the health and safety of thousands of New Yorkers who are living in dated housing with lead-based paint. The OLHCHH Program assists states and local governments in creating wide-ranging programs to identify and control lead-based paint hazards. Schumer said these funds are critical, as they are used for identification, abatement, and remediation of lead paint hazards homes, and the proposed cut could shut out communities from this important funding source.

“Lead poisoning is irreversible, causes nerve and brain damage in our kids and is easily preventable – but only if we continue to invest in programs like HUD’s Office of Lead Hazard Control. That is why we must defeat the cruel and counterproductive proposal in the House of Representatives to cut $35 million from HUD’s essential lead poisoning prevention work,” said Schumer.

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) says that the proposed cut of $35 million would translate to 3,400 additional children at risk from lead poisoning nationwide. Schumer says this would mean 414 additional children in New York State being poisoned, based on 31% cuts in 2014 funding levels of $13.76 million in New York. Schumer says New York State is particularly vulnerable to these cuts because of its housing construction. Over 33% of New York homes were built before 1940, and according to the U.S. Census Bureau, New York State has the largest number and percentage of housing built before 1950. Prior to this half-century turn, lead-based paint was a staple in homes, which led to numerous cases of lead poisoning, and sometimes, death, specifically in children.

In 2012, 12,067 children in New York, under six years-old tested for lead-poisoning, posted elevated blood levels above 5 micrograms per deciliter – the unit used to measure blood lead levels. According to the CDC, a number equal to or above 5 constitutes an “elevated blood lead level” of which parents should be aware. In 2011, among a similar sample audience, 6.19% of the children tested in New York City had levels above 5 micrograms per deciliter, almost tripling the percentage of those in California (2.37%).

Senator Schumer has long advocated for protecting New York children and families in the past by securing millions of dollars in federal funding to eradicate the toxic element from homes, reducing lead-poisoning cases. Lead poisoning can cause developmental difficulties, physical pain, and neurological damage. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), lead is much more harmful to children than adults because it can affect children's developing nerves and brains. Lead-based paint, still encasing homes’ walls, often erodes and settles on children’s toys on the floor, falling into the hands and mouths of children.

The Office of Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Control (OLHCHH) oversees seven grant programs under the Program Management and Assurance Division. The OLHCHH provides funds to state and local governments to develop cost-effective ways to reduce 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.

Schumer said NY State municipalities throughout the following counties have received millions in OLHCHH grant funds over the last 10 years (2004-2014):

Capitol Region

  • Albany County
    • 2008: $3,000,000
    • 2006: $2,998,283
    • TOTAL: $5,998,283
  • Schenectady County
    • 2014: $3,270,000
    • 2010: $3,212,641
    • 2006: $1,036,249
    • TOTAL:  $7,518,890

Central New York

  • Onondaga County
    • 2014: $6,380,000
    • 2012: $3,000,000
    • 2010: $6,047,266
    • 2009: $2,050,000
    • 2008: $6,615,358
    • 2007: $7,000,000
    • 2006: $3,000,000
    • 2004: $6,000,000
    • TOTAL: $40,092,624
  • Oneida County
    • 2008: $2,038,081
    • TOTAL: $2,038,081

Western New York

  • Chautauqua County
    • 2009: $4,466,354
    • TOTAL: $4,466,354
  • Erie County
    • 2014: 3,400,000
    • 2011: 2,273,000
    • 2008: 5,299,893
    • 2007: $5,299,893
    • 2006: $3,112,877
    • 2005: $3,500,000
    • 2004: $2,741,526
    • TOTAL: $20,327,296
  • Niagara County
    • 2009: $100,000
    • TOTAL: $100,000

Rochester-Finger Lakes

  • Monroe County
    • 2014: $3,270,000
    • 2012: $3,000,000
    • 2009: $5,269,613
    • 2008: $3,999,700
    • 2006: $2,998,283
    • TOTAL: $18,537,596

Southern Tier

  • Broome County
    • 2010: $2,100,000
    • 2009: $100,000
    • TOTAL: $2,200,000


Hudson Valley

  • Orange County
    • 2013: $2,500,000
    • 2006: $2,821,149
    • TOTAL: $5,321,149
  • Westchester County
    • 2010: $1,749,639
    • 2009: $1,150,000
    • 2006: $5,000,000
    • 2005: $2,196,257
    • TOTAL: $10,095,896

 North Country

  • St. Lawrence County
    • 2008: $500,000
    • 2006: $111,285
    • TOTAL: $611,285