Erie Co. Exec. lays out $3.75 million plan to combat lead exposure

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz made an announcement regarding a new $3.75 million plan to combat lead exposure across the county Wednesday.

Poloncarz was joined by Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein and Commissioner of Environment and Planning Thomas Dearing.

The $3.75 million budget translates to about $750,000 per year. Poloncarz said 8 new staff members would be hired as part of the initiative.

The plan would provide enhanced case management to children with elevated blood lead levels, if approved by the Erie County Legislature.

Also, the plan seeks to provide low income families with young children grants to remediate lead.

Poloncarz says more than 12,700 housing units have been inspected for lead since 2008. Around 986 homes were cleared of lead hazards each year.

Because of current efforts, Poloncarz says there has been a more than 41 percent reduction in elevated blood lead levels since 2001.

“Lead abatement is an issue that is not limited to our urban cores but extends into our suburban and rural centers as well,” said Dearing. “Expansion of our outreach efforts will create a cleaner, healthier Erie County.”

The lead proposal is one of 10 major proposals Poloncarz will address in his Thursday State of the County Address.

Poloncarz said Wednesday, “When we see a threat to public health, we must act. We are doing that with this proposal, a clear and forceful announcement of our intent to eliminate lead in our community. We are providing new resources and new determination to work with partners in addressing this problem countywide, and I urge the legislature to approve this proposal without delay.”

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