October 20, 2014

National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week: Oct. 19-25

Green & Healthy Homes Initiative Plans Week of Awareness Events, Underscoring Need for Enforcement and Continued Vigilance around Testing and Education

Baltimore, MD, October 20, 2014— Today the Green & Healthy Homes Initiative (GHHI), formerly known as the Coalition to End Childhood Lead Poisoning, kicked off a week-long series of events for National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week (NLPPW). The goal is to educate Maryland families, educators, caregivers, contractors, property owners, landlords and public health workers about the dangers associated with lead poisoning and methods of prevention. The complete list of events is available on our website.

This year's NLPPW theme, "Lead-Free Kids for a Healthy Future," underscores the importance of testing your home, testing your child and learning how to prevent lead poisoning’s serious health effects. There is no safe level of lead in the body.

“Despite the continued presence of lead in the environment, lead poisoning is entirely preventable,” said GHHI President & CEO Ruth Ann Norton. “Keeping children safe requires that families know the simple facts: Get your kids tested. Get your home tested. And moving beyond prevention, we need to do a better job with enforcement. GHHI strongly advocates for increased funding that will enable rigorous enforcement of lead laws in Maryland, as well as across the country.”

GHHI recommends that tenants make the effort to understand their rights, and that everyone living in a Maryland home built before 1978 follow lead-safe renovation practices.

Nearly half a million children living in the United States have elevated blood lead levels that may cause significant damage to their health, estimates the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The estimate is based on children with a blood lead level of 5 micrograms per deciliter (μg/dl) or higher using data from national surveys conducted in 2007-2008 and 2009-2010. Major sources of lead exposure to U.S. children include lead-based paint and lead-contaminated dust in deteriorating buildings. Children can also be exposed to lead from additional sources including contaminated drinking water, take-home exposures from a workplace and lead in soil. 

This year GHHI is also educating the public—with special emphasis on property owners and landlords—about Maryland’s Lead Risk Reduction in Housing Act, effective January 1, 2015, which requires owners of rental properties constructed prior to 1978 to 1) register all dwelling units every year with the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE); 2) have lead paint inspections prior to changes in tenancy; and 3) distribute specific lead risk educational materials.

About Green & Healthy Homes Initiative
The Green & Healthy Homes Initiative (GHHI) is dedicated to breaking the link between unhealthy housing and unhealthy children. Formerly the Coalition to End Childhood Lead Poisoning, GHHI replaces stand-alone housing intervention programs with an integrated, whole-house approach that produces sustainable green, healthy and safe homes. As a result, we are improving health, economic and social outcomes for families across the country.

With support from U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Department of Energy (DOE), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Council on Foundations and numerous philanthropic partners, GHHI serves as the national model for green and healthy homes interventions, and has produced more than 5,000 GHHI housing units nationwide. GHHI continues to increase its impact across 17 sites: Atlanta, Baltimore, Buffalo, Chicago, Cleveland, Denver, Detroit, Dubuque, Flint, Jackson, Lansing, Lewiston Auburn, Jackson, New Haven, Philadelphia, Rhode Island, Salt Lake and San Antonio. Learn more at www.ghhi.org or follow us @HealthyHousing. 

media inquiries

For more information about the Green & Healthy Homes Initiative, and for press and communications matters, please contact:

Kaletha Henry, Senior Communications Associate

khenry@ghhi.org (443)-842-5712

To arrange an interview with our President & CEO Ruth Ann Norton, members of the media should contact:

Julie Villar, Executive Assistant to the President and CEO

jvillar@ghhi.org (443)-842-5713