Lead Poisoning Prevention
Environmental Health Services (EHS) works closely with care coordination staff to address lead poisoning in Chemung County.
Care coordination staff at the Health Department work with families to promote harm reduction strategies that protect children from further exposure to lead. The health department offers free finger-stick lead testing to children residing in Chemung County. To have your child tested for lead at the Health Department, call (607) 737-2488.
EHS conducts home inspections to identify lead within the home. If lead hazards are found in the home, a notice and demand will be issued to the property owner or the person responsible for the property maintenance to ensure timely corrections. The Childhood Lead Poisoning Primary Prevention program offers free lead home inspections for zip codes 14901 and 14904 in the City of Elmira. To have your home inspected, call (607) 873-1308 or complete the online form.
Childhood Lead Primary Prevention (CLPPP+) Program
If your home or apartment was built before 1978, it will likely contain lead paint. Lead is especially dangerous to children and can harm them forever. The only way to know if your child has lead poisoning is to have them tested. Call (607) 737-2488 for a free fingerstick lead test. For more information about having your home tested for lead, call (607) 873-1308.
What is lead?
Lead is a naturally occurring element that can poison the body. It harms young children by affecting the brain, liver, kidneys, and bones. It is stored in the teeth and bones and collects over time. The harmful effects of lead can be severe and permanent. Some severe health effects include delayed growth, reduced IQ, learning, and behavior problems, and can even cause problems to pregnant women and their unborn children. There is no effective treatment to overcome the harmful effects of lead poisoning. However, lead exposure is preventable! Young children can be exposed to lead by crawling, playing on the floor, and putting things in their mouths. Digesting lead is the main source of exposure in children.
Where can lead be found?
Lead can be found in places and things we may not normally consider dangerous! The most common way children are exposed to lead is from lead-contaminated dust and paint in homes built before 1978. Lead can be in other places, such as metal jewelry, soil, and water. It can be found in certain ceramic pottery, toys, and materials used in hobbies, such as stained glass, cosmetics, medicines, and remedies made outside the United States.
Who is at risk?
Usually, children around the ages of 6 months to 6 years are at a higher risk for lead poisoning. However, pregnant women and their unborn children are also at risk. If you are pregnant, you should avoid places containing lead hazards, foods, or any items that may contain lead.
EPA’s Renovation, Repair and Painting Program (RRP) EPA requires that any renovation, repair, or painting project that disturbs lead-based paint in homes built before 1978 be performed by contractors trained and certified in lead-safe work practices.
Real Estate/Rental Disclosure Requirements
Federal law requires landlords and property owners to provide certain information about lead-based paint and/or lead-based paint hazards to prospective renters and buyers.
Renovation, repair and painting activities that disturb lead-based paint (like scraping, sanding, cutting, power washing, replacing, etc.) can create hazardous lead dust and paint chips, and even a small amount of lead dust is poisonous and is enough to cause harm, particularly to children.
Lead Paint Disclosure Notification
Renters must receive specific information, including brochures and notification whether lead paint is known to exist, prior to signing a lease.
Renovation, repair, or painting (RRP) projects can create dangerous lead dust and paint chips.
If you are planning an RRP project in a pre-1978 home, EPA recommends homeowners hire a lead-safe certified contractor, link to https://cfpub.epa.gov/flpp/pub/index.cfm?do=main.firmSearch
If you perform RRP projects in your own home, you do not need to be certified, however, you should employ lead-safe work practices to protect you and your family.
EPA's Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) Rule requires that renovations, repairs, and painting of child-occupied facilities be performed by RRP trained and certified contractors to ensure lead-safe work practices are used to prevent contamination of your facility.
Read more about RRP for Child Care Providers.
The City of Elmira’s Office of Community Development administers several grants that may assist property owners with the cost of making their homes lead safe.