Building Local Coalitions to Prevent Childhood Lead Poisoning
Special Projects Fund
September 20, 2007
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Childhood lead poisoning rates have decreased in the past several decades, but the rates in upstate New York remain among the highest in the country, particularly among low-income children living in older housing. To address the high risk of childhood lead poisoning in upstate counties, diverse stakeholders in Rochester formed the community-based Coalition to Prevent Lead Poisoning (CPLP). In 2005, as a result of the Coalition’s efforts, Rochester passed the first local lead law in New York State (outside of New York City), which required inspections for lead paint hazards as part of Rochester’s existing housing inspection process for rental housing.
This project leverages the Coalition to Prevent Lead Poisoning’s experience in local lead poisoning prevention to foster lead coalitions in three upstate cities with a significant proportion of older housing in poor condition: Auburn, Elmira, and Utica.
Despite population-wide decreases, lead poisoning rates remain high in upstate New York, particularly among low-income children living in older housing. The Environmental Health Sciences Center’s objectives include establishing innovative programs of excellence in environmental health sciences by providing scientific and programmatic support, and enhancing the career development of talented environmental health investigators.
In 2000, stakeholders in Rochester came together to form the Coalition to Prevent Lead Poisoning. The Coalition’s efforts to promote community awareness, direct action, and local policy change culminated in a 2005 local lead law that is currently considered a model for statewide legislation. This project leverages the Coalition’s experience in local lead poisoning prevention to foster lead coalitions in three upstate cities with a significant proportion of older housing in poor condition: Auburn, Elmira, and Utica. These cities have limited experience with community-based prevention efforts and will benefit greatly from Rochester’s experience. The University of Rochester’s Environmental Health Sciences Center’s Community Outreach and Education Core, a longtime member of the Coalition, will oversee the project, and partner with the cities’ community groups to draft needs assessments. The local partners will aid in identifying and convening diverse stakeholders in their communities to form a lead coalition and to organize a direct action project.