VHCB Healthy & Lead-Safe Homes Program Protects Children from Lead Poisoning

Contact:  Matt Hill, (802) 828-2423; @email                                                                       

VHCB Healthy & Lead-Safe Homes Program Protects Children from Lead Poisoning

child at day care centerIf your home or apartment building was built before 1978, chances are lead paint was used on exterior and interior surfaces. Opening and closing windows and doors or using a power sander can create enough lead dust to poison a child, and children under age 6 are especially at risk. Hundreds of Vermont children are identified each year with too much lead in their blood, which can cause learning and behavior problems and impair hearing.  Children with elevated blood lead levels often experience reduced attention spans, hyperactivity, and other problems.  At higher exposures, lead can cause even more serious issues. 

The VHCB Healthy and Lead-Safe Homes Program uses federal funds to provide free services to test for lead paint in  homes and apartments and arranges for certified contractors to complete interior and exterior painting to contain lead paint hazards. Residents are assisted with relocating while the work is underway, at program expense, and return once homes or apartments test clear of lead hazards. This work may include window replacement as well. Landlords renting to lower-income households and income-eligible homeowners with children under age 6 can apply for 0% interest, deferred loans that are completely forgiven after 5 or 10 years.

“This past year, we restructured our loan/grant awards to encourage use of the program,” said Matt Hill, Program Manager of Healthy and Lead-Safe Homes. “If you have an old house and small children we would really like to help get your house back to square one. If you own an old rental property, we can help you get back to EMP compliance and have a healthy environment for your tenants.”

State and federal regulations require property owners and contractors to get training in Essential Maintenance Practices (EMPs) to deal safely with lead paint and prevent the creation of lead-contaminated dust, the most common pathway for childhood lead exposure. Adults can be at risk as well from exposure at work or from certain hobbies.

To learn more about lead paint hazard reduction for homes and apartments, visit our website, vhcb.org/lead, call (802) 828-5064, or email: @email  Register for training and certification in EMPs for landlords, homeowners, and day care providers here.

Since 1994 the Vermont Lead Hazard Reduction Program at the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board (VHCB) has addressed lead hazards in approximately 2,600 homes and apartments throughout the State. The program also provides training in lead-safe maintenance practices to property owners, contractors and child care providers and conducts outreach and public education efforts to prevent lead poisoning.  Eligible properties receive free services in the form of testing, risk assessment, work plans, construction oversight, and clearance testing. Homeowners and landlords are eligible for grants and deferred loans to pay certified contractors.