Lead Safe Roanoke

Funding available to help prevent Children living in older homes from becoming Lead Poisoned

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has recently awarded a $2.7 million grant to the City of Roanoke to provide funds to property owners to help control deteriorating lead-based paint hazards found in homes and apartments built before 1978, the year when the US government banned the use of lead-based paint in residential homes.

The city’s HUD grant can financially assist families who live in homes built before 1978 by eliminating the lead-based paint hazards as well as other healthy home hazards discovered.

A shocking statistic shows that over 86% of the City’s housing units were built before 1978. And even more shocking is the fact that young children under the age of 5 years living in or regularly visiting these older homes are especially susceptible of becoming unknowingly poisoned by lead from the deteriorated, peeling and chipping lead-based paint found inside and outside of their home. Even toys may be a source for lead poisoning as many toys imported from other countries may be painted with lead-based paint.

Eligible residential property owners and investors who qualify to participate in the City of Roanoke’s Lead Safe program will receive a free Lead Inspection & Risk Assessment of their property to determine the presence of lead-based paint as well as other healthy home hazards. If lead-based paint hazards are found, a certified lead-based paint contractor will perform lead-based paint hazard control activities as well as any other healthy home improvements needed to eliminate the hazards found at no cost to the owner.

All home improvements and repairs such as new windows, interior/ exterior paint, and gutters will depend on the individual hazards identified in the home. The Lead Safe Roanoke Program is only available to owner-occupied and rental properties located in the City of Roanoke.

Young children can become poisoned by lead-based paint any number of ways, including putting objects coated with lead-based paint inside their mouths, breathing in lead ladened paint dust from deteriorating lead-based painted windows, floors and doors, playing on the floor inside or on the ground outside of the homes where deteriorated lead-based paint exists and then putting their fingers inside of their mouths after doing so.

Lead poisoning can cause severe mental and physical impairment lead is more harmful to young children because their brains and nervous systems are still developing. Since a child’s brain is still developing, lead poisoning can lead to intellectual disability. Lead poisoning can be treated, but any damage caused cannot be reversed.

Children who have become poisoned by lead often do not show any signs of the illness, and if symptoms are present, these symptoms may be misdiagnosed as another illness. The only way to know for certain if your child has become poisoned by lead is to have their blood tested for lead. Families with young children ages 1 and 2 should particularly have their pediatrician or primary care physician give their children a simple blood test to screen for lead poisoning. There is NO safe level of lead in the body!

Lead Safe Roanoke would like to hear from Roanoke City residents interested in participating in the program as applications are currently being accepted.

For additional information, contact the Lead Safe Roanoke office by calling 540-853-5682, or visit us online at www.roanokeva.gov/leadsafe.