Cleveland gets $5 million to abate lead paint as part of broader fight against lead contamination

Cleveland gets $5 million to abate lead paint as part of broader fight against lead contamination

WASHINGTON, D. C. - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on Thursday announced that it’s awarding Cleveland a $5 million grant to be used for identifying and cleaning up lead paint in 240 low income families’ homes, as well as a $700,000 grant to help abate other hazards in 175 homes.

The Cleveland grant was announced as part of a broader Biden administration “Lead Pipe and Paint Action Plan” unveiled on Thursday to reduce nationwide lead exposure that can cause brain damage, anemia, weakness and kidney damage. It includes more than 14 new actions across 10 federal agencies with the goal of replacing all lead pipes in the next decade.

A Cleveland Plain Dealer investigation found thousands of Cleveland children suffer from lead poisoning each year. Symptoms of childhood lead poisoning include learning and developmental troubles, irritability, loss of appetite, weight loss, sluggishness and fatigue, vomiting, constipation, hearing loss and seizures. Severe cases can be fatal.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and prevention, more than half of children in the U.S. are at risk of lead exposure – often in their own home. The federal government estimates to 10 million American households and 400,000 schools and child care centers are served by a lead service line or pipes and other fixtures. Approximately 24 million housing units have significant lead-based paint hazards, of which 4 million of these are home to young children.

The effort announced Thursday includes a new Environmental Protection Agency regulatory process to protect communities from lead in drinking water, and allocation of EPA allocating $3 billion in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding to states, Tribes, and Territories for lead service line replacement in 2022, while calling on states to prioritize underserved communities. It establishes a new Cabinet Level Partnership for Lead Remediation in Schools and Child Care Centers, and clarifies that money in the $350 billion State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund provided in the American Rescue Plan can be used for lead service line and lead faucet and fixture replacements.