From the Office of Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi

Pelosi Statement on $3 Million Federal Grant to Protect Children from Lead Hazards in Housing

September 29, 2004

San Francisco -- House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi released the following statement today at a press conference held by Mayor Gavin Newsom to announce a $3 million grant from the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department to remove lead hazards in low and moderate-income households:

"Thank you Mayor Newsom for your leadership in protecting our children's health. I would also like to acknowledge HUD Regional Director Richard Rainey for his assistance in securing this $3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Lead Hazard Control Grant Program. Matthew Franklin and the Mayor's Office of Housing should also be commended for their work to secure this critical grant.

"Environmental health is a major human rights issue in the 21st century, and San Francisco again leads the way. For many years, San Francisco-based organizations such as the Healthy Children Organizing Project worked to protect young children from environmental hazards in San Francisco's low income and minority communities, and San Francisco was the first local jurisdiction in the country to pass a comprehensive lead abatement ordinance.

"This federal grant will allow San Francisco to significantly expand efforts to reduce young children's exposure to lead-based paint hazards in their homes. Lead exposure is one of the most common and preventable causes of childhood poisonings. Lead is a potent poison that can affect individuals at any age, but children are especially vulnerable because their rapidly developing nervous systems are particularly sensitive to its effects. Children exposed to even small amounts of lead may appear inattentive, hyperactive or irritable and may display delayed reaction time. High levels of exposure can cause permanent brain damage and even death.

"Although children are exposed to lead by many different sources, lead-based paint is the most common and dangerous. This grant will allow San Francisco to remove lead-based paint hazards in 150 residential units for low- and moderate-income families, assisting an estimated 394 San Francisco children living in these units. In addition, these funds will provide blood lead testing for 300 children and reach 3,544 children and their families through community lead hazard education.

"Every child has a right to live in an environment free of deadly toxins. Over the past three years, I have worked to secure more than $100 million within the federal budget to explore the relationship between chronic disease and hazardous environmental exposures, coordinate public health efforts and target resources to prevent chronic disease in low-income communities.

"Thank you again to Mayor Newsom and to HUD for your work to ensure our children live in a healthy environment."

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