PITTSTON, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE) – Pennsylvania ranks third in the nation for having the most housing units built before 1950 – when lead-based paint was most prevalent. For lawmakers and healthcare providers, lead exposure is a growing concern.
Today, a senate committee came looking for public input to answer that question. Senator John Yudichak introduced senate resolution 33 that created a task force to investigate the scope of Pennsylvania’s lead exposure problem and ultimately find solutions. His inspiration – the Flint, Michigan water crisis.
“Seeing lead exposure putting people at risk..Pennsylvania wanted to jump ahead of that issue,” said Senator Yudichak.
City and state officials, environmentalists and pediatricians are aware of the problem, but they say renters and homeowners generally – aren’t. As homes get older, it’s very easy for lead-based paint dust to spread, making it easier for small children to be exposed.
If not treated soon, doctors say lead poisoning can lead to developmental issues. The city of Wilkes-Barre’s health department has taken proactive steps to fight childhood lead poisoning. It recently received a grant to start doing rental inspections and now they can actually do abatement on about 19 properties a year.
“We would like to do every unit in Wilkes-Barre that has the potential for childhood lead poisoning, but we will take it one step at a time,” said City Health Inspector Henry Radulski.
Lawmakers agree on one thing – state and federal funding are always a concern. But that’s why Senator Yudichack says this taskforce is needed – to come up with innovative solutions.