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Linda Vista Homes Stripped Of Hazardous Lead Paint

Aired 6/14/12 on KPBS News.

Homes in Linda Vista are being stripped of their hazardous Word War II-era paint.

A low-income San Diego community is getting stripped of hazardous lead paint.

Linda Vista was originally built in the 1940s as a government project to house aircraft workers and still has many homes with lead paint.

Residents cannot afford to remove the lead paint, so a grant is helping cover the costs.

The federal government gave the San Diego Housing Commission $2.48 million to continue removing lead paint and test children for high levels of lead.

The president and CEO of the SDHC, Richard Gentry, said with the “Home Safe Home” program, close to 600 children have been tested for lead poisoning.

Leticia Ayala with the Environmental Health Coalition said child-to-lead poisoning is a silent threat in many of the older homes like those in Linda Vista.

She said since lead poisoning can cause brain damage, hyperactivity and aggression in children, it is a societal issue many should be concerned with.

“If we really want to dedicate resources to an issue that not only impacts a family, but impacts society in general, this is where we should be focusing,” she said. “This is an issue we can put our resources into and make sure that our kids are lead safe.”

“The good news is that lead poisoning is completely preventable,” Ayala said. “Everyone in our society can play a key role in protecting our children’s health from lead poisoning.”

The money will allow for lead testing in 175 more homes. Lead in 1,200 houses and apartments has already been removed.

Homes built before 1978 and with children younger that six years old are eligible for the government funding.

“I’m really grateful that the families and homes in my district are becoming safer through this grant,” said Lori Zapf, the City Council representative for District 6.

The Environmental Health Coalition will have free lead testing for children on August 11 at Fiesta del Sol at the Cesar Chavez Park.

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