Lead poisoning is completely preventable. Your immediate involvement is critical to prevent lead poisoning and help families whose children are lead poisoned. Federal funding for programs that support this work are being cut drastically and have already been decreased significantly over the past few years. Click here to view the cuts in funding to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Healthy Homes and Lead Poisoning Prevention programs.
You can help ensure funds for these important programs by calling or writing a letter to your Senators as soon as possible, but before the March 28, 2012 deadline. Include the following three points:
- Request that they submit a “programmatic request” to support restoration of the CDC Healthy Homes and Lead Poisoning Prevention Program in the FY 2013 Labor, HHS, and Education Appropriations bill. This would bring us back to the FY 2011 level of $29.257 million.
- Request that they submit a “programmatic request” to support continuation of the HUD Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Program with level funding, $120 million, including $30 million for Healthy Homes, in the FY 2013 Transportation HUD Appropriations bill. Providing adequate funding for these programs will enable communities to address substandard housing conditions and prevent disease and death among young children and the elderly as well as lead hazards.
- Inform them that in 2009 alone, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) identified almost 4,000 children as lead poisoned at blood lead levels at 10 mg/dL or greater. Scientific research, including a 2010 study of Chicago Public School children, indicates the critical need to start helping children with blood lead levels below this level. According to IDPH 2009 data, almost 41,000 children were harmed at blood lead levels at 5-9 mg/dL. We know that an even larger number of children are harmed by lead given that less than 40% of children who are required to be tested, are tested.
- Request that they sign onto the bipartisan letter being circulated by Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) and Sen. Mike Johanns (R-NE) to support funding the Healthy Homes and Lead Poisoning Prevention Program at CDC at $29 million (the FY11 level), and maintaining funding for the Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Control program at HUD at $120 million, with an allocation of $30 million for healthy homes. Note that the following Senators already have signed: Boxer (D-NY) Johanns (R-NE) Kerry (D-MA) Menendez (D-NJ) Mikulski (D-MD) Reed (D-RI) and Whitehouse (D-RI).
Senator Dick Durbin can be reached by phone at (202) 224-2152 or via email through his website.