Lead Safe Program helps keep kids in Salt Lake County safe

SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah --Thanks to a federal grant, Salt Lake County is helping prevent lead poisoning among children.

County Mayor Ben McAdams announced the "Lead Safe Homes" program, and families are already benefiting.

“As a new mom, I just have anxiety about things here and there: black mold, old houses, stuff like that—so when I came across the Lead Safe Program, I decided to give them a call and see if at least we could qualify,” said Ashley Pachecho, a mother and Salt Lake County resident.

Lead poisoning can lead to neurological disabilities, but lead exposure is very preventable. The main causes of exposure among children are lead-based paint and contaminated dust in old houses.

“We want to come in and use this grant, stretch it as far as we can, to use this grant to clean up our homes and avoid some of the challenges that go with lead-based poisoning, both sickness but also learning disabilities that will arise as the result of a child being exposed to lead-based poison,” McAdams said.

A new $3.1 million grant from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development will help families in Salt Lake County get rid of lead in their homes, at no cost to the resident.

“We did all the exterior on the outside, and then they did the side windows and our basement windows as well that were painted shut,” Pachecho said.

Not only will this program help families who can't afford to address issues in their own homes, it will also save tax payer dollars down the road.

“This is going to ultimately save the tax payer dollars,” McAdams said. “If we can help our kids stay safe, we’re going to save on special education needs, we’ll save on health needs by remediating these homes.”

For more information about the Lead Safe program, visit this website: http://slco.org/lead-safe-housing/