August 22, 2019

Duckworth, Durbin Announce Nearly $2 Million to Protect Southern Illinois Families from Lead Hazards


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) today announced two housing authorities in Southern Illinois will receive a total of $1,943,027 in federal funding from the U.S.  Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Lead-Based Paint Capital Fund Program. Under this announcement, the East St. Louis Housing Authority (East St. Louis, IL) will receive $943,027 and the Union County Housing Authority (Anna, IL) will receive $1,000,000 to identify and reduce lead-based paint hazards in public housing units.

“Federal funds like these help local communities address toxic lead-based paint, which is proven to harm children and cause cognitive and behavioral problems,” Duckworth said. “It’s unacceptable that in the wealthiest nation in the world, children in federally-assisted housing remain at risk of suffering permanent brain damage because of where they live. I’ll keep working with Senator Durbin to reduce exposure to this dangerous neurotoxin and ensure safe, healthy housing options for children and families all across Illinois.”

“We know the damage lead can do to developing brains, and it’s our responsibility to ensure that all children, regardless of their background, can grow up healthy and reach their full potential. Access to safe housing should not be determined by your zip code,” Durbin said. “Senator Duckworth and I will continue fighting for investments like this to help make sure that families throughout Illinois are protected from the threat of lead poisoning.”

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), lead-based paint hazards, such as dust containing lead and chips from deteriorated lead-based paint, are the most common source of lead exposure for U.S. children.  A 2011 HUD survey found that lead-based paint is in roughly 37 million U.S. homes, of which 93 percent were built before 1978––the year lead-based paint use in housing was banned in the United States.

In May, Duckworth and Durbin  reintroduced the Lead-Safe Housing for Kids Act, which would require HUD to update its lead poisoning prevention measures to reflect modern science and ensure that families and children living in federally-assisted housing are protected from the devastating consequences of lead poisoning.   

Last year, along with eight of their Senate colleagues, Duckworth and Durbin wrote to HUD Secretary Ben Carson, urging the agency to immediately improve its oversight of lead-based paint hazards in federally-assisted housing to ensure that families and children are protected from exposure to lead. The letter came on the heels of a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report recommending that HUD take immediate action to improve all of its protocols for identifying and remediating the presence of lead-based paint hazards in federally-assisted housing.