ProJo: $2M coming to Providence, Pawtucket to address lead paint in public housing

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Housing authorities in the capital city and Pawtucket will receive nearly $2 million in federal grants to assess and fix lead-paint hazards in older units, U.S. Sen. Jack Reed announced on Monday. Under the grants, the Pawtucket Housing Authority will receive $1 million, and the Providence Housing Authority $974,400.

Despite progress in the years since lead has been removed from new paint production, children living in older housing with old paint in the two cities remain at elevated risk for poisoning from the metal, which can cause long-term and irreversible cognitive deficits.

“Every child deserves a safe and healthy home,” Reed said in a statement. “Eliminating lead-based paint hazards from public housing is both a moral and economic imperative, and Congress must do its part to protect at-risk children and families. Lead poisoning is a preventable tragedy, and these grants will help prevent kids from being exposed to harmful lead-based paint hazards in their homes.”

A media release from the senator's office put the risks in context: “Lead poisoning disproportionately affects the lives of children from economically-disadvantaged backgrounds and can have lifelong, irreversible consequences, including severely inhibiting healthy development and compromising learning ability.”

The senator's office cited Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics, which show that “at least 4 million U.S. households are being exposed to high levels of lead.”

Exposure at a young age, when the brain is still developing, Reed's office noted, “poses not only serious immediate health consequences, but may also permanently jeopardize potential for upward social mobility throughout adulthood. Children who are exposed to lead hazards are seven times more likely to drop out of school and six times more likely to end up in the juvenile justice system.”

To view the complete article, visit Providence Journal

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