Whitehouse, Schumer, and Casey Introduce Bill to Protect Children from Lead

Washington, DC – With an estimated 23 million homes nationwide containing
lead-paint-related hazards and millions more with dangerous lead pipes, U.S.
Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Charles E. Schumer (D-NY), and Bob Casey (D-PA)
introduced legislation today to help Americans cover the cost of removing lead from
their homes.

Lead is a powerful neurotoxin that can have debilitating effects on people of all
ages. In particular, it can severely compromise the behavioral and cognitive
development of children. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports
that over 4 million households nationwide have children who are exposed to high
levels of lead. Despite the widespread contamination of U.S. housing stock, funding
for existing federal programs to reduce lead hazards only covered abatement of
lead-related risks in 18,600 housing units in 2015.

The Home Lead Safety Tax Credit Act of 2016 would dramatically broaden the national
response to this critical public health challenge by providing refundable tax
credits for homeowners, landlords, tenants, and others to remove lead from homes.
The bill would create a tax credit worth up to $3,000 to cover half the cost of
abating lead hazards. It would also create a smaller tax credit worth up to $1,000
to cover half the cost of steps taken to control-but not completely remove-lead
hazards, like sealing in lead paint. These new tax credits would supplement state
and local lead control programs, and would be available to offset costs in
households with annual income under $110,000.

«Despite the grave danger it poses, lead still lurks in most homes in older cities
like Providence,» said Whitehouse, who has a long history of fighting lead
contamination. In 1999, while serving as Rhode Island Attorney General, Whitehouse
initiated legal action against lead paint manufacturers to demand accountability for
the hazards of their products. «As we’ve seen with the national disgrace in Flint,
Michigan, lead remains a major public health challenge. These tax credits will help
property owners and families rid all homes of lead once and for all and protect our
children.»

«I am grateful to Senator Whitehouse and his colleagues for standing up for the
children in Rhode Island and across the country who are exposed to lead in the place
where they should be most safe – their own homes,» said Barbara Fields, Executive
Director of Rhode Island Housing. «Working with Senator Whitehouse and our state’s
federal delegation, Rhode Island Housing has reduced dangerous lead hazards in
thousands of Rhode Island homes over the last two decades. This tax credit would be
an important tool to rid our state of the lingering effects of lead and pave the way
for all Rhode Island children to grow up in safe, healthy homes.»

«Lead poisoning is a tragic and costly issue for the entire nation. The Home Lead
Safety Tax Credit Act of 2016, sponsored by three of the nation’s foremost advocates
protecting children’s health, will provide an invaluable set of tools and resources
to families and homeowners across the Country. It’s passage will help us deliver on
the goal of ending childhood lead poisoning as a major public health threat and
improve the opportunity to every child and every family to reach their full
potential.» said Ruth Ann Norton, President and CEO of the Green & Healthy Homes
Initiative. Norton traveled to Rhode Island on Monday to help Whitehouse announce
the bill.