Community Foundation to spend $2 million to fight lead paint poisoning in Syracuse

A philanthropic foundation in Syracuse has stepped up to help fight lead paint poisoning in children – an environmental health crisis that has grown beyond the city’s capacity to solve it.

The Central New York Community Foundation is expected to announce today that it will spend $2 million over four years to help renovate homes, build new housing, conduct lead inspections and train contractors.

At least 600 children in Syracuse were poisoned by lead paint last year, according to the Onondaga County Health Department. These toddlers join the generations of older children who have suffered the ill effects of elevated blood levels after ingesting lead paint.

Eleven percent of children tested in Syracuse in 2017 had elevated blood lead levels. Thirteen children so far have been treated with expensive and painful chelation treatments at SUNY Upstate Hospital.

It’s a long-term problem fed by a lack of money, weak laws, fatigue.

A story published today explains the difficulty in solving a decades-old health threat that suffers from lack of money, weak laws, government roadblocks and community fatigue.

About 90 percent of homes in Syracuse were built before 1980, when people stopped layering their homes in paint laced with lead. Lead is a toxin that has no business in the human body. When it flakes and chips in dilapidated homes, children can ingest it.

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