Durbin Announces $2 Million to Protect Cook County Families from Lead Hazards

HUD heeds Durbin’s call to strengthen lead standards to protect children in low-income housing

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today announced that the Department of Housing and Urban Development will award Cook County $2 million to identify and address lead-based paint hazards in low-income homes with children. Today’s funding will allow the Cook County Department of Health to control hazards in 132 housing units, protecting families from dangerous lead exposure. Prolonged exposure to lead can cause irreversible and long-term developmental delays and health and behavior problems in children.
“We know the damage lead can do to developing brains, and it’s our responsibility to ensure that all children, regardless of their background, can grow up healthy and reach their full potential,” said Senator Durbin. “Lead poisoning is entirely preventable, and yet too many families are living with its devastating consequences. I commend HUD and the Cook County Department of Health for their efforts to combat this threat.”
Also today, in response to Senator Durbin’s call to strengthen lead standards, HUD announced the Lead-Safe Housing, Lead-Free Kids Toolkit. This initiative draws from the Lead-Safe Housing for Kids Act of 2016, which was introduced earlier this year by Senators Durbin and Menendez (D-NJ) and U.S. Representatives Mike Quigley (D-IL) and Keith Ellison (D-MN).
The Lead-Safe Housing for Kids Act reforms outlined in HUD’s plan include:

  • Revision of Lead Safe Housing Rule to match the CDC standard;
  • Support for improvements to lead safety and the elimination of visual-only inspections for Section 8 and other federally subsidized housing;
  • Encouraging public housing authorities to act immediately when elevated blood lead levels are detected in children;
  • Identifying best practices to focus federal dollars on the most effective efforts.