Hazard Hunters helps Cedar Rapids homes get rid of lead paint - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Hazard Hunters helps Cedar Rapids homes get rid of lead paint

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The cost of removing lead paint can come with a hefty price tag, which is why the city of Cedar Rapids and Linn County Public Health are lending a hand to homeowners.

Hazard Hunters, apart of the city, uses funds provided by a grant to cover some, if not all, of the costs that go into inspections, improvements, assessments, and temporary relocation during repairs.

"You can find lead based paint in most anything but generally it's going to have an alligator skin cracking to it, that's a little bit better of a sign and any house built before 1978 has a very good chance that all the paint in it is lead based paint," Allen Connerely, owner of Connerely Construction, said.

Experts say children are at the highest risk of suffering from lead poisoning, which is why the program aims to help homes where children are present, especially under the age of 6. They say lead poisoning can lead to developmental disabilities. 

"Children under six are kids that are putting things into their mouth. They have more hand to mouth coordination," Alyssa Williams, Cedar Rapids Housing and Healthy Homes Specialist, said.

Melissa Eaton recently bought a new home in Cedar Rapids, suspecting it to have lead but not knowing the difficulties of removing it. Unique to other homes accepted into the program, Eaton doesn't have any children of her own but she has nine nieces and nephews that often make her home their playground.

After buying a new home and starting a business, she said money was scare to come by but an was alarmed after discovering the harmful affects of lead.

"I had a sleepover with three of them and the couch that they were sleeping on is right below some windows and I was just like. "ugh, don't breath." We had to have this conversation about not licking wood and don't eat anything you find and they all thought I was crazy but I was just so hyper-sensitive to it," she said.

The overall cost to rid her home of lead was $16,000. Williams said that number is close to their average of $17,000.

Eaton says without the help of the program, she wouldn't have been able to address the lead problem anytime soon, nor all at once.

Since the start of the grant funding, Williams said they've been able to help over 400 units. She says they still have room to help about 40 more.

To learn more about the program and if you qualify, visit their website here.

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