© 2024 WRVO Public Media
NPR News for Central New York
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

HUD Secretary Carson says lead poisoning problem is 'solvable'

Ellen Abbott
HUD Secretary Ben Carson, center, speaks during a roundtable discussion on lead poisioning in Syracuse Friday. At left is Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh. At right is Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus)

Central New York could be getting a boost in its fight against lead poisoning, following a visit to Syracuse Friday from Ben Carson, President Donald Trump's Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

Carson got an earful about challenges facing a community where 11% of children test positive for lead poisoning. He believes it is an issue that can be solved.

"It's something that if we focus on appropriately, and we do the appropriate types of treatment, we can get it under control," said Carson at a roundtable discussion Friday.

Federal help is key to that. Already the city of Syracuse and Onondaga County have received more than $60 million since the mid-1990s to fund lead mitigation programs, and Congress has appropriated more dollars for the issue according to Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus).

“We’ve increased the pot of money available for lead paint remediation, so now $9 million is the new high water mark because of the additional funding," said Katko.

"You should aim high now," Carson responded.

Carson said Syracuse would be a prime candidate for funds because it can be kind of a laboratory to study the impacts of lead poisoning and how to eliminate it.

“We look for places we where can get rapid results, this is one of those places, because of the cooperative spirit that is here and the very well defined problem," said Carson.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.