In recognition of Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, Oct. 22 through 28, the City of Lancaster’s Lead-Safe Lancaster initiative, along with partner Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health’s Lead-Free Families, will host Lead Free Kids on Oct. 28 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Lancaster Science Factory, 454 New Holland Ave. The event will feature free lead screenings, lead paint testing, soil testing for lead, interactive displays, and free admission to the first 200 attendees.
The City of Lancaster’s Lead Hazard Control Program continues to make strides toward meeting the goal of making 435 properties lead safe. In 2023, the program has completed 78 projects, with a total of 181 projects completed thus far. In addition to the $10 million Department of Housing and Urban Development grant used in targeted high-need areas, the program has secured an additional $770,000 in Pennsylvania Department of Health funding. These funds will be utilized to remediate lead in properties across the city and will focus on remediation for properties with elevated blood lead level cases.
The Lead Hazard Control Program has also built the capacity of the workforce conducting lead remediation in partnership with organizations such as SoWe, TecCentro, and Lead-Free Families. The grants have supported various contractor trainings and reimbursement for training, so that additional people can be licensed as lead workers, or by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for Renovate, Repair and Paint safe work practices. The City of Lancaster now has 10 licensed contractors bidding on work paid for by the grants.
Additionally, Bureau of Health and Lead Hazard Control staff continuously improve systems to respond to children with lead poisoning. The City of Lancaster signed data-sharing agreements with the Pennsylvania Department of Health and Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health to receive referrals for all children with elevated blood lead levels in the city. Thus far, the City of Lancaster has reached out to 245 families referred to us by the Pennsylvania Department of Health to connect them with resources and programs to make their homes lead-safe and prevent further exposure to lead.
Bureau of Health and Lead Hazard Control staff meet weekly with the staff of Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health to coordinate the response for all cases of childhood lead poisoning, totaling 64 in 2023. This improved system is on track to double the cases referred to the City of Lancaster, up from 37 in 2022. This coordinated effort ensures kids in both rental and owner-occupied properties are protected and offered resources and education through the City of Lancaster’s Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes Program and Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health’s Lead-Free Families Program.
Proactive lead safety requirements for all rental properties began in January 2023. Now, City of Lancaster housing inspectors integrate lead hazard evaluations into all systematic rental inspections. Of the confirmed childhood lead poisoning cases the City of Lancaster was notified of in 2023, 81% of these were tenants in rental properties. Proactive lead safety requirements in rental properties aims to prevent lead poisoning cases in the future.
The City of Lancaster’s Lead-Safe Lancaster initiative is working to end lead poisoning in Lancaster City through new ordinances, partnerships, and grant funds.
For more information about the City of Lancaster’s Lead Hazard Control Program or upcoming contractor trainings, please call 717-291-4730 or visit www.cityoflancasterpa.gov/lead-safe.