11.18.20

Whitehouse Leads Senate Democrats in Introducing Tax Credits to Protect Children From Home Lead Hazards

Legislation would provide federal tax credits up to $4K to cover costs of removing dangerous toxin

Washington, D.C. – With lead hazards lurking in about 3.6 million homes of families with young children nationwide, U.S. Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Gary Peters (D-MI), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) today introduced legislation to help American families cover the cost of eliminating lead from their homes. The Home Lead Safety Tax Credit Act of 2020 would significantly broaden the national response to this public health challenge by providing refundable tax credits for homeowners, landlords, and tenants to remove lead from homes.

“Every parent should have the peace of mind of knowing their child is safe in their own home. Yet, millions of older houses have hidden lead hazards that can set children up for a lifetime of heartbreakingly needless challenges. Our tax credits would go a long way toward removing lead from those homes once and for all,” said Senator Whitehouse, who has a long history of fighting lead contamination. While serving as Rhode Island Attorney General in 1999, Whitehouse initiated legal action to hold lead paint manufacturers accountable for the hazards of their products.

“Lead poisoning is an irreversible, preventable tragedy that robs many families and children of their future. We need to do everything we can to eliminate this hazardous lead from American homes, which are vulnerable because so many were built before 1978 when lead paint was banned,” said Senator Schumer. “These new federal tax credits will help America’s families and communities cover the cost of removing lead hazards in their homes and protect the health of their children. We need to act now and we need to act fast to get toxic lead out of our homes and address this concerning public health hazard.”

The legislation would create tax credits worth up to $4,000 to cover half the cost of abating lead hazards in paint, pipes, or soil. The new tax credits would be available to offset the costs of removing lead from houses built before lead-based paint was banned for residential use in 1978, supplementing state and local lead control programs.

Lead is a powerful neurotoxin that can severely compromise the behavioral and cognitive development of children. Despite the widespread contamination of U.S. housing stock, funding for lead abatement programs like the Lead Hazard Control Grant Program has only provided lead abatement for about 400,000 homes since 1993.