HUD granting $10 million for lead testing


The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is granting $10 million nationwide to defray the cost of lead testing on houses to assist compliance with new federal safety regulations.

Baltimore conducts more than 1,000 lead abatements every year, of which several hundred are eligible to receive money toward post-abatement dust testing. The city has not calculated how much it will get, said Dr. Peter L. Beilenson, Baltimore health commissioner.

"We're already doing clearance tests," said Beilenson. "This'll be nice, though, because it reimburses us."

The grant will cover the cost of mandatory lead testing on houses abated with Community Development Block Grant and Home Investment Partnership Program money. Approximately 1,000 jurisdictions nationwide, including 12 in the state, are eligible to receive $150 toward each house, which roughly covers the cost of a test. The grant is retroactive to October 2001.

Because so many houses in Baltimore were built before 1978, when Congress banned lead paint, it ranks among the cities with the worst lead-paint poisoning problems.

Other eligible Maryland jurisdictions include the state; Prince George's, Howard, Harford, Baltimore, Anne Arundel, Frederick and Montgomery counties; Hagerstown; and Cumberland.

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