Onondaga County to hold town hall meetings on lead poisoning
Onondaga County’s latest salvo in the war against lead poisoning is a series of town hall events, with at least one meeting geared toward landlords or contractors who deal with older homes.
Just about every week, Kerry Quaglia of Home Headquarters gets a call from contractors, complaining about the federally required training and registration needed to minimize lead exposure.
"Just last week a contractor called and said 'I’m not going to do any more business on Home Headquarters financed projects cause I got to send workers to this training.'," said Quaglia. "I said, 'your beef would not be with Home Headquarters, it’s with the Environmental Protection Agency. You’ve had this responsibility for a decade'."
Quaglia hopes a town hall meeting September 24 will help contractors, as well as landlords, learn the particulars of lead-safe work practices established in 2010. The EPA rules apply to anyone who is working on a house built before 1978, when lead paint was banned.
A meeting September 26 focuses on anyone who provides services to families with young children and health officials. And the whole community is invited to a meeting October 1. There may good news by then. That’s when Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon expects to hear whether the county will win a federal grant to fight lead poisoning.
"Collaboratively, we’d have about $10 million in the community that could be invested in this issue," said McMahon.
Lead poisoning is a chronic issue in Syracuse, because of an old housing stock and high rate of poverty. In 2017, 11% of children tested showed high levels of lead.