Getting the lead out; Federal grant provides free safety upgrade - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Getting the lead out; Federal grant provides free safety upgrades

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

"If you think you have lead base paint in your house, you probably do," said Jon Martin, rehabilitation specialist.

The City of Waterloo was provided with a federal grant called "Lead-Based Paint Hazard Control Program," to address the lead issue in homes. Currently, they are looking for qualified applicants.

"Iowa is fifth in the whole nation for lead-based paint," said Martin. "It's here, so there is abundance of it and it's very dangerous for kids under the age of six."

If someone owns a home built before 1978 and has a child under the age of six who lives there, they could qualify for abatement, free of charge.

From the grant, the city will spend $35,000 per home for safety upgrades.

Mike Prideaux with the Black Hawk County Health Department says the need for this grant is still out there.

"(It's) the pre-50's homes that we really see the higher concentration of lead," he said. "Iowa's housing stock across the board, about 35 percent, is pre-50's. The national average is about 20 percent."

Prideaux says children should be tested at a very young age for lead, because they can have high lead levels and show no symptoms.

"They end up with developmental disorders, learning disabilities, those kinds of things that may not ever be connected to their exposure when they were 12 to 15 months old," said Prideaux.

The Black Hawk County Health Department provides free lead testing. Contact them at 319-291-2413

If you feel like you may qualify for the "Lead-Based Paint Hazard Control Program," contact Waterloo Community Development at 319-291-4429.

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