Maywood was named among a handful of municipalities in Cook County that will share a three-year $2 million Lead Hazard Reduction Grant. The program is designed to remove lead-based paints from homes in suburbs that are at high-risk for lead-based paint exposure, particularly in the aftermath of severe flooding in 2013.
The Cook County Board of Commissioners authorized the acceptance of the funding at an Aug. 3 meeting. Other communities considered at high-risk for lead-based paint exposure, and that will be included in the grant program, are Cicero, Berwyn, Blue Island, Calumet City, Calumet Park, Dolton, Riverdale and Robbins.
“The risks associated with lead-based paint are well known,” said Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. “I am pleased that our Cook County agencies have put together a program and secured funding on this important health and safety issue.”
According to an Aug. 3 statement released by Preckwinkle’s office, the grant program will provide lead paint hazard mitigation to homeowners. The county has yet to describe what that mitigation, or removal, process entails. The statement noted that the county will work with commissioners and community organizations to disseminate information about the program in the weeks ahead.
Eligible homeowners will need to satisfy certain income qualifications, own a single-family home (one to four units) and reside in suburban Cook County. They will also need to “have owned their homes before the severe storms and flooding that occurred during April and May 2013, which help define a community’s resilience,” according to the statement.
“Lead is a serious problem because of the older houses in places like Maywood, so I’m pleased the county included the village in that grant,” said Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin (1st), whose district spans most of Proviso Township and large parts of the West Side of Chicago.
Lead poisoning is a particularly dangerous threat to young children and pregnant women, with exposure leading to numerous cognitive disorders that can affect a child’s mood, behavior and attention span, among other important aspects of his or her personality.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, many homes built before 1978 — when the federal government banned consumer products containing lead-based paint — are at high-risk of exposure.
A chart, produced by the EPA, showing the percentage of homes most built between a given time span that are likely to contain lead-based paint.
According to a draft of the village’s most recent comprehensive plan, nearly half of Maywood’s units were built before 1939 and more than 80 percent of homes in the village were built before 1959.
A graph, included a draft of Maywood’s most recent comprehensive plan, shows that the majority of houses in the village may be at high risk of lead-based paint exposure.
“Lead paint is still present in millions of homes, sometimes under layers of newer paint,” the EPA notes. “If the paint is in good shape, the lead paint is usually not a problem. Deteriorating lead-based paint (peeling, chipping, chalking, cracking, damaged, or damp) is a hazard and needs immediate attention.”
For more information on lead-based paint and how to mitigate your family’s exposure to it, click here. VFP
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