City launches program to protect families from lead dangers

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YORK, Pa. (WHTM) – York City Council is launching a program to test and treat lead contamination in homes.

“99 percent of our buildings were built before they outlawed lead,” York City Council President Michael Helfrich (D) said.

Council unanimously accepted a $288,000 grant this week from Pennsylvania’s Department of Health for a new lead abatement program.

“Being an older city, York has a lot of issues with lead,” Helfrich said. “We’ve been using lead paint for centuries, and that lead peels off. It could be in your home, and it’s definitely in the land that we have around here.”

Helfrich says he is worried about children eating lead paint chips, which can taste sweet.

“Lead is a horrible poison that reduces our children’s IQs and causes many other health hazards,” Helfrich said.

“It’s a good thing because they’re trying to determine what the properties have,” Jose Rodriguez, who lives in York, said. “A Lot of people don’t know they have lead in their house. You can’t determine because you don’t have that skill to find out.”

The grant money is for two years. City Council hopes to kick off the program by late September. The York City Health Department will do lead risk inspections in homes for free if a child has an elevated lead blood level. You can also qualify if a child younger than six lives in your home or visits.

The program applies to both renters and homeowners who meet federal income level requirements.

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