Housing & Health

#Lead2020: Lead-Safe Homes, Healthy Families

Thanks to a grant from the National Center for Healthy Housing, the Virginia Poverty Law Center and the Richmond City Health District conducted a webinar series on lead contamination in homes from August 19th to September 9th, 2020, with the assistance of HousingForward Virginia. The goal of these events was to raise awareness about the dangers of lead contamination in homes across the Commonwealth.

The organizers hope to build a coalition that can work together towards fully abating lead from our housing stock and water systems. Panelists discussed the long-term health impacts, current policy and initiatives to address the problem, and the necessity for additional legal, financial, and structural tools to ensure that lead poisoning becomes a thing of the past.

Lead poisoning is preventable, and with your help, we can make sure no Virginia resident will have to worry about whether their home is lead-safe.

Webinar 1: Plumbum Persists: Housing and Public Health

In our first of four webinar sessions, Richmond City Health District and Virginia Poverty Law Center invite you to learn how lead continues to impact resident health across the Commonwealth.  Lead-safe homes are crucial to ensuring healthy families and communities. This introductory webinar session discusses the intersection of housing and health, as well as the long-term health impacts of lead exposure on children and adults. Whether in paint or pipes, lead poisoning is an environmental justice issue that deeply affects families, especially in aging rental units.  With this first webinar session, we hope that you will gain a better understanding of why fully eradicating lead in the Commonwealth’s housing stock is a pressing concern. 

Webinar 2: Paint, Pipes, and Poison: Pervasiveness and Proper Process

With our second webinar session, we invite you to learn about the pervasiveness of lead in our aging housing stock and the comprehensive process of lead remediation. 

Having stressed the importance of healthy homes in our previous session, we now turn towards the tools needed to make those healthy homes. Professional lead-based paint removal could cost anywhere from $9,600 to $30,000 for a 1,200- to 2,000 square ft. home. For small rental property owners and low-income households, these costs are monumental when incomes are largely dedicated to basic living expenses. 

But without sufficient knowledge, adequate equipment, and Federal certification, improper removal could cause more harm than good. The cost of doing nothing could lead to long-term health impacts, especially for young children.

In this session, experts discuss how lead is identified in homes and the process for doing so. You will learn the importance of proper removal and how localities can leverage resources to support lead-safe homes for children.

Webinar 3: Legally Speaking: Understanding the Lead Legal Landscape

In our third webinar session, we invite you to learn about current laws and regulations that protect families from lead hazards in Virginia.

Experts from Virginia Department of Health’s Division of Surveillance and Investigation open our third session by providing an overview of lead contamination in Virginia. Showing data from across the state, we see where lead contamination is most prevalent and who in Virginia is most susceptible. 

As we see where lead is and who it is impacting, we look at what laws and regulations are addressing lead contamination in our homes. From the federal level to the local level, legal requirements have sought to ensure that lead removal is done correctly to protect families. Experts discuss your current rights and resources under the law, and how governments are addressing the issues at the local.

Webinar 4: Lead-Free Future: A Call to Action

In our final webinar session, we invite you to learn about best practices across the nation in lead hazard control and what needs to change here in Virginia to fully eradicate lead from our homes. We close our series by looking towards the future.

Lead poisoning is preventable, but the challenges lie in finding and measuring the presence of lead. As we have learned in previous sessions, the costs of identification and removal are expensive. But the impacts on health and well-being are even more costly. Experts discuss the long-term benefits of effective lead hazard control and what new tools are available to us. 

While effective tools are necessary, a strong legal foundation is crucial to ensuring that homes are healthy. With new legislation and funding to address a preventable problem, we might finally be able to ensure that Virginia is lead free.

Please join us as we discuss how we can stop home lead poisoning in Virginia and how you can be a part of this initiative.

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