September 26, 2008

CARDIN, MIKULSKI ANNOUNCE $2 MILLION FOR LEAD ELIMINATION IN BALTIMORE

WASHINGTON, DC - Senators Benjamin L. Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski   (both D-MD), today announced the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has awarded $2 million to the Coalition to End Childhood Lead Poisoning in Baltimore.   Senator Cardin is a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Environmental Health Subcommittee. Senator Mikulski is a senior member of the Senate Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittee.  

 

"As lawmakers we have a responsibility to protect the health and well-being of our most vulnerable citizens: our children. The effects of lead-based paints can be mitigated but it takes money, which is why lead-poisoning strikes hardest in urban and lower-income neighborhoods," said Senator Cardin, who has been recognized nationally for his work in the Congress to end childhood lead poisoning.   "Maryland parents can be assured that I will continue to work for funding, like this grant to the Coalition to End Childhood Lead Poisoning in Baltimore, to remove dangerous lead paint and hazards from our homes until every child is safe from harm."

 

 "Children are disproportionately at risk for lead poisoning in major urban areas.   Children from poor families are at the greatest risk - they are eight times more likely to get lead poisoning than other children" said Senator Mikulski, a long-time advocate for federal funding for lead-based paint hazard control intervention and prevention services.   "That's why I fought to create the lead paint demonstration program and stand up each year to increase funding to remove lead-based paint from homes in Maryland and across the country.   This funding is an important step in protecting children from lead exposure and make a real difference for Baltimore's families."

 

The Coalition to End Childhood Lead Poisoning and its partners will use the federal funds in combination with private contributions to make 300 units in Baltimore City lead safe.   This effort will include training contractors, workers and landlords in safe paint removal methods and providing outreach to over 15,000 Baltimore residents.   

 

Lead poisoning is the number one environmental hazard threatening children throughout the United States.   It can reduce IQ, cause learning disabilities, and impair hearing.   Elevated and high exposures to lead can damage children's kidneys and central nervous system, and can cause anemia, confusion, and even death.   It is estimated that anti-social behaviors and increased special education needs caused by lead poisoning costs the general public millions of dollars each year due to lost wages and burden on taxpayers.