September 27, 2021

RI Delegation Secures $500,000 to Prevent Childhood Lead Exposure

RHODE ISLAND — U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and Congressmen Jim Langevin and David Cicilline today announced that the Rhode Island Department of Health will be receiving $500,000 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to reduce lead exposure in children. Specifically, the Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program funding will support increased lead testing and reporting among high-risk children, improved data collection and surveillance, tailored and community-based interventions, and enhanced processes for connecting children exposed to lead with the appropriate medical services.

“Every child deserves a safe and healthy home,” said Senator Reed. “Lead poisoning is a preventable tragedy and these federal funds will help reduce childhood lead exposure.”

“Even after decades of remediation, lead hazards continue to lurk in many older homes in Rhode Island. This federal funding will help kids grow up healthy by catching and treating lead poisoning sooner,” said Senator Whitehouse, who has a long history of fighting lead contamination. While serving as Rhode Island’s Attorney General in 1999, Whitehouse initiated legal action to hold lead paint manufacturers accountable for the hazards of their products.

“Exposure to lead can have devastating consequences for our children and families, so we must do everything in our power to eliminate the prevalence of lead in our communities,” said Rep. Jim Langevin. “I thank my colleagues for helping to secure this critical federal funding, which will help Rhode Island children, especially those who are particularly high-risk, avoid the lasting impact associated with lead exposure.”

“This federal investment will help connect children who have been impacted by lead poisoning to key services, while also supporting efforts to prevent future exposure,” said Congressman Cicilline. “I was proud to take a lead in the fight for increased Lead Poisoning Prevention Program funding during this year’s appropriations process, which will help ensure we have the continued federal resources to address this critical issue.”

Even at low levels, lead exposure has the potential to affect growth and development, hearing and speech, academic achievement, and behavior. Although public health initiatives to reduce environmental exposures to lead have led to steady blood lead level decreases among the U.S. population, including children, significant disparities in lead exposure persist.

Chip Unruh (Reed), (202) 224-4642

Meaghan McCabe (Whitehouse), (401) 453-5294

Matt Fidel (Langevin), (202) 631-1010

Peter Karafotas (Cicilline), 571-242-3596

Press Contact

Meaghan McCabe, (202) 224-2921