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CNY organization working to end lead poisoning in Syracuse

lead paint.jpg
Madison Ruffo
WRVO Public Media
Chipping lead paint on the porch of a Syracuse home built in 1900.

Lead poisoning is still a major issue among children in the city of Syracuse. One central New York organization is working to help homeowners get rid of lead in their homes.

Home HeadQuarters of Syracuse has been helping homeowners and renters in CNY for 25 years. One of their recent commitments is to end lead poisoning in the area. Home HeadQuarters works with the Central New York Community Foundation to provide scholarships to contractors and landlords for an environmental protection agency training. That training teaches about safe lead removal and protection measures. Kathleen Walpole, director of program strategy, impact and evaluation, said that the program helps everyone in the process of lead removal.

Tom Magnarelli
WRVO Public Media

"That's a training that will help them make repairs, understand cross-contamination," Walpole said. "If you're working in a home and maybe there is a home adjacent you don't want anything that's on one home to spread to another. It's a program truly designed to comply with EPA's rule and protect not only the families and the families adjacent but the contractors and the landlords."

After taking the training herself, Walpole said she was able to learn about the many dangers lead poisoning can bring.

"There are other things you can have in your body but for lead, absolutely not," Walpole said. "For children, it can cause learning disabilities, neurological disorders, and you truly can't tell unless you do a blood test. At the same time, for adults, there are detrimental health effects as well. It could harm a fetus in a pregnant women, fertility issues and memory and concentration problems."

Walpole added that although you cannot see the issue, it can impact all populations.

"It's a danger you can't see but it truly impacts children and adults," Walpole said.

In Syracuse, 10.4% of children have documented elevated blood lead levels. To learn more about Home HeadQuarters' mission and opportunities, visit https://www.homehq.org/.

Abigail is a temporary WRVO News Reporter/Producer working on regional and digital news stories. She graduated from SUNY Oswego in 2022 where she studied English and Public Relations. Abigail enjoys reading, writing, exploring CNY and spending time with family and friends. Abigail first joined the WRVO team as a student reporter in June 2022.