Lead poisoning in children is the target of a $3 million federal grant coming to Milwaukee. Childhood exposure to lead continues to be a widespread issue in the city, where lead poisoning rates are almost double the national rate.
The HUD grant will establish a lead reduction program in Milwaukee to further combat childhood lead poisoning. Lead can be toxic when ingested, and children who are exposed to the metal are susceptible to medical issues, including delayed brain development.
Jim Gambon is with the Social Development Commission, which will administer the program. He says that lead is still a major concern with different types of housing stock built before the 1950s, and that it affects all types of households: “It can be an owner-occupied duplex, it can be a single family owner, and it can be multi-family rental units. So the problem exists in all of those areas.”
Gambon also says the program will aim to holistically prevent lead poisoning through education as well as home improvement grants.