WXXI AM News

Schumer Legislation Tackles Lead Poisoning

Feb 18, 2016

Schumer says his legislation could help end lead poisoning for future generations.
Credit Veronica Volk / WXXI News

Elizabeth Gilliam-Mayo bought a house in Rochester with the intent of running a daycare, but before she could open her business, she found hazardous levels of lead in the infrastructure.

"I bought the house in 2014 not realizing the dangers that were in here. All of these windows have been replaced, the exterior, the whole house has been rehabbed."

Gilliam-Mayo says she wouldn't have been able to do the work to remove the lead without grant money that came from HUD.

In a press conference in Gilliam-Mayo's home, Senator Schumer announced he's introducing legislation to increase the available funds through that program, called the Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Home Grant Program. The senator's legislation would also to establish a tax credit to help cover cost of lead removal for homeowner or landlords.

"We've heard about lead in the news recently in the pipes in Flint, but we all know the same danger that lead poses in those pipes in Flint is posed in nice homes like this that were simply built before 1980 because the paint on the walls had lead."

The tax credit would cover half the cost of removal, up to $3,000, and Schumer says he's expanding it to include households with higher incomes, up to $110 thousand.

"If we do both, the tax credit and the grant, we can wipe out lead poisoning."