Lead Hurts Kids! The Good News is that Help is Available!

by Brendan Doyle, Environmental Public Health Analyst, City & County of Denver

Lead poisoning has long been identified as a preventable environmental hazard to children in the United States.

While most people may associate the risks of lead poisoning with children ingesting lead-based paint chips, the primary causes of lead poisoning are ingesting or breathing lead contaminated dust and/or soil found in or around older houses. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), even low levels of lead can cause permanent brain and nervous system damage, learning and behavioral problems, and result in lower IQ. Children under the age of 6 are most at risk because of how quickly their brains are developing.

Denver’s Department of Public Health and Environment (DDPHE) was awarded $2.8 million to provide lead-based paint mitigation and abatement assistance to 130 homes through January 2021.

The funding will be administered by DDPHE and our partners at Denver Urban Renewal Authority (DURA). Under the grant, qualifying homes or apartments will receive a free, full lead-risk assessment as well as a health and safety assessment, and an abatement plan and abatement services.

To qualify for grant assistance, a home must:

  • Have been built prior to 1978
  • Contain deteriorated lead-based paint or high lead dust levels (the grant program will check all of this for you)
  • House or care for a child under the age of six at least 6 hours per week
  • House residents earning at or below 80 percent of the area’s median income (Family of 4 must be at or below $71,920 total household income)

Homeowners as well as landlords renting to qualifying tenants will be eligible. In addition to lead abatement services, the grant also includes $400,000 to address other healthy homes and safety hazards, such as trip and fall hazards, missing smoke/carbon monoxide detectors, minor mold remediation, etc. within qualifying homes. Homeowner-occupied units will receive a full grant—meaning you pay nothing if you qualify— for all services performed and landlords will receive up to $6,000 of grant assistance.

If you administer child care services out of your private residence, please consider exploring this program to ensure that your home is free and safe from lead and other health and safety challenges. Download this flyer for more information.

If you are interested in learning more or think you may qualify, please contact Denver Urban Renewal Authority at 303-534-3872 and ask for the Lead Hazard Control Program.

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