Lead Free Promise Project begins statewide battle against lead poisoning

Local News

The fight to end lead poisoning among children in Pennsylvania may happen with the Lead Free Promise Project.

Dr. Jeffrey Martin, the chair of the Department of Family and Community Medicine, came up with the idea to help health care providers test children’s blood lead levels.

“The purpose of the guide is to really be an easy button for one stop shopping location where providers confronted with a child with blood lead levels can put the pieces in place,” Dr. Martin said.

Martin added lead poisoning in housing has been around since 1978 in the U.S. He said in Pennsylvania, 8,000 children are being exposed to lead poisoning every year. The goal of the program is to protect the children and end lead poisoning.

“We know that the African-Americans and Hispanic population are disproportionately poisoned as opposed to the white population, in part, because they’re more likely to live in older properties that have deteriorating lead-based paint,” Dr. Martin said.

Some houses in the City of Erie are still impacted by lead. The Erie Redevelopment Authority said there are over 8,000 rental homes that contain the poison.

“Over the last 10 years, we’ve remediated around 1,800 houses within Erie county, said Aaron Snippert, executive director of the Redevelopment Authority, “and there’s far more housing that we have to remediate.”

Snippert said the city received a $3 million federal grant for a lead abatement effort for the next three-and-a-half years. He said currently, there is a list of 50 applicants waiting to get into the lead hazard control program.

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