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House Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: November 30, 2017 03:05 PM
From: Representative Michael H. O'Brien
To: All House members
Subject: Cosponsorship Request: Lead Abatement Grant Program
In the near future, I intend to introduce a bill that would establish a program that will provide grants to municipalities for the purposes of lead abatement programs.

In 1978 the Federal government banned the use of lead in the production of paint, which was proven to be a potent neurotoxin, inducing a wide range of health effects in adults and children. In young children exposure to lead hazards in the home can impose permanent cognitive and developmental damage. Pennsylvania ranks fifth in the nation among states with housing built prior to 1978, with 70% of the Commonwealth’s housing stock having been built prior to 1978, which increases to 95% in Philadelphia.

However, this issue is not just isolated to urban communities. For example, in Warren County, slightly more than 20% of the children tested were determine to be positive for lead poisoning. The average price of lead abatement can range from $4,000-8,000 per housing unit. Considering the cost and intensive nature of lead abatement, it’s imperative that we provide assistance to low-income residents and small landlords.

Under the bill, the program will be administered by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) in coordination with the Department of Community and Economic Development and the Department of Health. Municipalities (cities, counties, boroughs, towns, and townships) will be eligible to apply for grants to supplement existing lead abatement assistance programs. DEP will be required to promulgate rules and regulations to determine the eligibility for grants.

Grants will be awarded on a competitive basis, with priority consideration given to municipalities that provide assistance for low-income households and residences in which children under the age of six reside. Population of low-income residents and the age of housing stock located within the municipality will also be given consideration by DEP. The program will be funded by a surcharge of 50¢ per gallon on all architectural paint sold within the Commonwealth.

Every dollar spent on lead abatement assistance can save the Commonwealth money spent on costs associated with medical care and special education spending.

I hope you join me in cosponsoring this important legislation.

Introduced as HB2000