Rhode Island Children Can't Live Without Lead In Homes

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture
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The RI Department of Health is deeply disappointed by the Rhode Island’s Supreme Court ruling today, which denies the best opportunity for more RI children to live in safe homes free from lead. “Nearly 80% of the housing stock in Rhode Island contains lead, lead that threatens our children’s health now and represents a threat to future generations,” said David R. Gifford, MD, MPH, Director of the Department of Health.

The Department of Health is asking all partners including local and federal government, advocates, funding agencies and the public to continue to support the elimination of lead hazards. Specifically, we need help to:

Protect Rhode Island’s children from continued exposure to lead:

1. Rental property owners must comply with the Lead Hazard Mitigation Law and obtain a Certificate of Conformance for their rental properties,

2. Property owners are encouraged to take advantage of Lead Hazard Reduction grants and low interest loans available to renovate homes, www.rhodeislandhousing.org or call 457-1234

3. Housing entities, state agencies and others must continue to pursue funding for the removal of lead hazards in the homes,

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4. Parents can protect their children by learning about lead safe and proper work practices before renovating their homes,

5. Physicians and medical providers must continue to screen children under six years of age for lead, and

6. Children must receive the proper nutrition that protects them from potential lead poisoning.

Policy makers and housing officials:

1. Continue to support resources to enforce standards of the Lead Poisoning Prevention Act and the Lead Hazard Mitigation Law which will augment the supply of safe housing with Lead Safe certificates or Certificates of Conformance,

2. Make strategic investments in housing with the greatest need, especially those where young children live, and

3. Assure compliance of safe housing standards through prompt complaint response and enforcement,

“The Commission has worked to ensure that there are affordable procedures for property owners to mitigate lead in rental units,” said Noreen Shawcross, Executive Director Rhode Housing Resources Commission. “Primary prevention is the most effective strategy to protect children’s health.”

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