WNPR

Many Connecticut Homes Are Contaminated With Lead -- What Now?

Mar 10, 2017

Thousands of Connecticut children have elevated levels of lead in their blood. This is often the result of lead dust in the home or in the soil outside.

Families are advised to remove lead from a home immediately, or move out, if lead levels are too high. But many people can't afford the costly remediation process, and there aren't any alternative housing options in some parts of the state.

Lynette Swanson deals with lead issues for the Northeast District Department of Health, which covers 12 towns, including Woodstock and Plainfield.

Speaking on WNPR's Where We Live, Swanson said that most homes in that part of the state are likely contaminated with lead.

"Our area really doesn't have any lead-safe housing that we can just send a family to when they have a child with an elevated lead level," Swanson said. "That's something that we're trying to work with the state health department and local agencies to try and come up with a plan so we have some housing available."

She said that before buying or renting an older home, people should see if the doors, windows, and trim are original.

"Friction surfaces, such as windows going up and down, or doors opening and closing, can create lead dust hazards in the home," she said. "So especially if you have children under the age of six, you want to be aware and do special cleaning procedures -- wet mopping and wet dusting."

Lead has been shown to delay development in young children. Parents are asked to test their children's blood for lead, and experts advise parents to watch their child's development closely, as even low lead levels can impact development.

While most exposure happens through dust from paint and soil, lead can also be found in public water -- or in some products, like toys.

State lawmakers are considering legislation that would provide low-interest rate loans to homeowners to help pay for the cost of lead removal.

Heather Brandon contributed to this post.