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Courtesy photo

Shown from left are Marty Nee, HUD; Sharon Hayes, EPA; Matt Leahy, U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen’s office; Nashua Mayor Donnalee Lozeau; Barbara Fields, HUD; Susan Terzakis, U.S. Sen. Ayotte’s office; and Dean Christon, executive director of the New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority.
Saturday, March 31, 2012

Nashua gets $2.3 million grant to combat lead poisoning

NASHUA – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development awarded the city two grants to ensure Nashua homes are safe from lead-based paint and other health and safety hazards.

On Friday, HUD held a press conference at City Hall announcing its award of $2.3 million in a lead-based paint hazard control grant program and $180,000 in healthy homes supplemental funding to identify and reduce lead and healthy homes hazards in 130 housing units in Nashua.

The funding will help clean up high-risk homes, HUD officials said, as well as train workers in lead safety methods and increase public awareness about childhood lead poisoning.

Lead is a toxin known to impair children’s development and to have long-lasting effects into adulthood, and lead poisoning is the top environmental health threat to children, HUD officials said. About 24 million homes still have significant lead-based paint hazards, HUD officials said.

Lead-contaminated dust is the primary cause of lead exposure. It can lead to health problems in young children, including reduced IQ, learning disabilities, developmental delays, reduced height and impaired hearing.

At higher levels, it can damage a child’s kidneys and central nervous system, and cause anemia, coma, convulsions and death.

The city will use the grant in partnership with Nashua’s Division of Public Health and Community Services, Code Enforcement Department and School District, Southern New Hampshire Services, Nashua Housing Authority, New Hampshire’s Healthy Homes and Lead Poisoning Prevention Program, New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority and Triangle Credit Union.

“It’s simple: You can’t be healthy if your home is sick,” Jon Gant, director of HUD’s Office of Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Control, said in a statement. “HUD is committed to protecting children from these hazards as part of our efforts to help make the nation’s housing healthy and sustainable.”

The New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority also was awarded $2.3 million in lead-based paint hazard control grant funding from HUD and $180,000 in healthy homes supplemental funding to identify and reduce hazards in 245 housing units.

Maryalice Gill can be reached at 594-6490 or mgill@nashuatelegraph.com.