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New London is among 38 communities nationwide that will receive grants for projects to protect families from the hazards of lead-based paint and other home and health safety hazards, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced Thursday.
A total of $98.3 million in grants are being awarded. New London is slated to receive $2 million. The grants will be used to clean up lead-paint hazards and other health hazards in 6,373 high-risk homes, train workers in lead-safe work practices and increase public awareness about childhood lead poisoning, HUD said in a news release.
Lead is a known toxin that can impair children's development and have effects lasting into adulthood.
"Childhood lead poisoning is completely preventable and that's exactly what these funds are designed to do," HUD Deputy Secretary Maurice Jones said. "The communities receiving these grants are helping their children grow up brighter, safer and healthier."
Even though lead-based paint was banned for residential use in 1978, HUD estimates that approximately 24 million homes still have significant lead-based paint hazards today. Lead-contaminated dust is the primary cause of lead exposure and can lead to a variety of health problems in young children, including reduced IQ, learning disabilities, developmental delays and impaired hearing, HUD said. At higher levels, lead can damage a child's kidneys and central nervous system and cause anemia, coma, convulsions and even death.
The funding will be used to eliminate lead paint hazards from thousands of privately owned, low-income housing units, HUD said.