NY Senator Calls to Up Budget for Home Lead Removal

YONKERS, N.Y. (AP) -

Sen. Charles Schumer is calling for more federal spending to help homeowners pay for lead paint removal.

The Journal News says the New York senator made the announcement Monday after visiting an older home in Yonkers. He said it was an example of a property which benefited from a federal program that helps eligible homeowners decrease lead-paint contamination.

Schumer called on lawmakers to increase the $110 million budget for the Lead Hazard Control and Health Home grant program to $230 million. He says he’s also introduced a bill that would create a $4,000 tax credit to assist homeowners in paying for lead paint removal.

“People have heard about the problem of lead in Flint, Mich., but lead that poisons our kids is a serious problem here in New York in Yonkers, and throughout the New York metropolitan area,” Schumer said at a news conference at the Sedgwick Avenue home in the Conor Park neighborhood. “It’s in the paint in our homes.”

Lead was commonly used in house paint until 1978 when it was banned. In older homes, the lead in house paint can become airborne when windows are opened and scrape their frames, or lead paint can crumble into dust on floors, where crawling babies and toddlers get it on their hands.

Schumer cited statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, noting that, of 4,203 children tested in Westchester County in 2014 for lead, 158 were found to have lead poisoning. That same year in Rockland County, 40 children out of 1,760 tested had lead poisoning. In Putnam County, six out of 253 tested had lead poisoning.

Lead poisoning in children can affect brain development, intelligence and can cause behavioral problems. The effects of lead on children are permanent.