All the facts for Broome County residents on the dangers of lead paint

FACT: If your home was built before 1978, it
may have lead paint. It only takes a little bit
of lead dust to damage a child forever. Don’t
take that risk.

Broome County can help eligible renters or
homeowners cover the costs of making
homes lead-safe.

What is lead poisoning?

Lead is a toxic heavy metal. It is especially dangerous for young, growing children. Lead poisoning is usually caused by tiny lead dust particles from worn, chipping, peeling, or damaged household paint. Over time, lead dust settles on the window sills and floors in your house. It can get on a child’s hands and toys, and can easily find its way into their mouth. Even a small amount of lead can harm a child, and its effects are permanent. It is important to address lead hazards safely before children are exposed.

Lead exposure in children can cause nervous system and kidney damage, poor muscle coordination, learning disabilities, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and other speech, language and behavior problems. Adults exposed to lead paint can suffer from high blood pressure, headaches, dizziness, diminished motor skills, fatigue, and memory loss.

Lead-poisoned children usually do not “look” sick, but the lead in their blood may be causing permanent damage. 

How can I protect my family?

If your home was built before 1978, it may have lead paint.

Make sure your children under the age of six are blood-tested for lead; this is one of the most important things parents can do to prevent lead poisoning. Only 26% of children in Broome County have been tested two or more times by 36 months, even though it is required by New York State Law. Have your children been tested? Ask your doctor. 

Watch out for painted surfaces that are worn, chipping, peeling, cracking, or chewed, such as:

  • Windows, window sills, trim work, and window wells
  • Doors and door frames
  • Stairs, railings, and banisters
  • Porches, siding, and fences

Settled lead dust from damaged paint and lead-contaminated areas can re-enter the air when people vacuum, sweep or walk through it. Lead in the soil around a house can be hazardous when children play in areas of bare soil, or when people bring soil into the house on their shoes.

If you think that your home may have lead hazards, do not attempt to sand, scrape, or remove lead paint yourself. Lead-based paint should only be removed by someone properly trained, such as an EPA certified lead contractor.

The Broome County HUD Lead Hazard Control Program is available to help eligible single-family or rental homeowners remove lead hazards safely.

Property owners living with young children or renting to families with young children may be eligible to have certified lead contractors paint, replace, remove and enclose the surfaces in the home that have lead paint hazards.

Contact the Broome County Health Department for more information at (607) 778-2847.

Help for landlords

Landlords who inadvertently expose children or adults to lead paint are not protected by most insurance policies. For a limited time, the Broome County Health Department is providing assistance to qualified property owners and renters for the repair of lead hazards in their homes.  

Lead poisoning can cause permanent brain damage and other severe health problems in children who are exposed. This program is an affordable way to make your property a safer place, protecting you from liability and saving you money.  

To be eligible for the program, units must house at least one child under the age of six or a pregnant woman. Trained contractors will be selected to correct lead hazards safely. Remediation work may include painting, enclosure, removal and replacement of surfaces that contain lead hazards. Contact the Broome County Health Department at 607-778-2847 for more information, or to apply for the program.

Property owners should also be aware of the laws and regulations regarding training/certification requirements, disclosure, and notification of renovation work in pre-1978 homes. These regulations are now the standard of care for the industry. Complying with them will reduce the chance of being involved in potentially expensive lawsuits, as well as tens of thousands of dollars in potential EPA fines.

Click here for more information about the EPA’s Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) Rule and available training.

Apply for assistance

To apply for assistance with lead paint remediation, please download the following form. You can bring the completed form to us at Broome County Health Department, 225 Front Street, Binghamton 13905, email it to us, or fax it to (607) 778-3912.

Request more information
Fill out my online form.

Act now.  Or your children
could pay the price forever. 

For more information, call the Broome
County Health Department: 607.778.2847