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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 30, 2007

Governor Blagojevich announces a $3 million grant to help eliminate the risk of lead poisoning in children
Illinois ranks number one in the nation for identifying news cases of lead poisoning in children

SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced a $3 million grant for the Illinois Get the Lead Out Program – Phase V to help protect children and families from dangerous lead-based paint hazards in the home.  The funding will be used to reduce or remove lead-based paint in more than 200 low-income homes in seven target areas across Illinois.  This latest round of funding brings the total number of homes made lead-safe by this program to 1,200. 
 
“As parents, we do everything we can to make sure our children are safe especially at home. But often in older houses and apartments, children may still be exposed to lead-based materials. This grant will allow us to help reduce the number of children exposed to lead in their homes, and the number of childhood lead poisoning cases in the state,” said Gov. Blagojevich.
 
Children with elevated lead levels may suffer from learning disabilities, mental retardation, behavioral problems, lowered IQ, stunted growth and hearing impairment.  Convulsions, coma and death can occur at higher lead levels.  Some recent studies claim that childhood lead poisoning can contribute to problems later in life, such as academic failure, juvenile delinquency and high blood pressure.
 
“Lead is a known toxin that can lead to a number of serious health problems.  Illinois is the number one state in the nation for identifying new cases of lead poisoned children. Last year, almost 6,500 children were identified with lead poisoning.  What this means is that identifying these children sooner can get them the assistance they need,” said Gary P. Flentge, Chief, Division of Environmental Health, with the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH).
 
IDPH will immediately implement the 36-month, federally funded $3 million Lead Based Paint Hazard Control Grant Program grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).  The federal grant will be matched by $431,120 in local funds and in-kind services to reduce or remove lead-based paint hazards in 237 low-income homes in seven target areas and four homes outside the target areas for a total of 241 homes.  The Get the Lead Out Program – Phase V is designed to provide lead-based paint services to property owned by those at or below 80 percent of the local median income adjusted for family size in each target area.  The seven targeted areas and the agencies that will be providing services are as follows:
 
Rockford – Target Area
-         City of Rockford Human Services Department
-         City of Rockford Community Development Department
-          Winnebago County Department of Public Health
 
Cook County – Target Area
-         Community and Economic Development Association of Cook County
-         Cook County Department of Planning and Development
-         Cook County Department of Public Health
 
Freeport – Target Area
-         Northwestern Illinois Community Action Agency
-         Illinois Department of Public Health Rockford Regional Office
 
Decatur – Target Area
-         City of Decatur
-         Macon County Health Department
 
Urbana – Target Area
-         City of Urbana
-         Champaign-Urbana Public Health District
 
Kane County – Target Area
-         Kane County Community Development
-         Kane County Riverboat Funds
-         Kane County Health Department
 
Adams and Pike Counties – Target Area
-         Two Rivers Regional Council of Public Officials
-         Local Health Department(s)
 
The local health departments, community action agencies and community development agencies solicit applicants from Office of Energy Assistance Weatherization Program clients and families with children with elevated blood levels.  When an applicant qualifies for the program, the local health department will conduct a lead-based paint risk assessment; the community action agency will develop a work order to address the lead-based paint hazards; and the health department will review the work order to assure that all the lead-based paint hazards identified will be addressed.  The community action agency will put the job out for bid and a licensed abatement contractor will conduct the lead-based paint hazard work.  The family will be relocated by the community action agency if deemed necessary by the local health department.  When work is complete, the risk assessor from the local health department will conduct the clearance testing and IDPH staff will conduct a final inspection to assure that the mitigation work and the documentation adhere to program policies and procedures.
 
IDPH, with support from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign School of Architecture Building Research Council (UIUC BRC) and the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency (IHPA), will provide direct and administrative services for the program.


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