Community Foundation Marks Year Five of Lead-Free Mohawk Valley Initiative

The Community Foundation of Herkimer and Oneida Counties and the Lead-Free Mohawk Valley Coalition partners are marking the fifth year of a community-wide commitment to reduce high rates of childhood lead poisoning in Oneida and Herkimer counties. In April 2016, the Community Foundation launched the effort with sustained funding. To date, $6 million has been committed through the end of the decade.

Over the last five years, Lead-Free MV has worked to raise awareness in the community about lead poisoning and its effects as well as encourage testing in children under the age of 6. Through partnerships with organizations like the HomeOwnershipCenter, and state and local governments, testing rates are on the rise and families that qualify are taking advantage of free lead safe repairs to their homes.

With increased lead exposure stemming from more pandemic-imposed indoor time for many, “There are actions that local families, particularly with young children, can take right now to reduce the effects of lead and environmental health hazards,” says Caroline Williams, Lead-Free MV program manager.

Protect Your Child:

  • If there were any renovations or construction done to your home during the COVID pandemic OR your child did not get their annual well-care visit, ask your medical provider to test the blood lead levels (BLL) for children age 6 and under. If you don’t have a regular medical provider, contact the Sister Rose Vincent Family Medicine Center, 120 Hobart Street, Utica at 315-798-1149 to enroll with a provider to schedule a BLL test.
  • You can help protect children by washing their face and hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds when coming indoors, before meals, and before naps and bedtime. Also, wash household items several times daily particularly toys, pacifiers, and objects children put in their mouths.

Make Your Home Safer:

  • Wet clean windowsills and mop floors that may be covered in lead dust. Keep toddlers and young children away from chipping or peeling paint. Don’t let children touch or play near windows.
  • If you live in the City of Utica, have young children that spend significant time in your home, and the house was built before 1978; you may qualify for the Lead Safe Utica program to make lead hazard repairs at no cost to you. For more information call 315-724-4197 or visit leadsafeutica.com.

Become More Involved:

  • Notify your landlord if paint needs repair. Make sure all repairs are made using lead safe work practices while the family is in the home. Properly clean up the work area after repairs are completed.

Learn more about actions you can take to keep your family safer and healthier while at home by downloading the Lead-Free MV Coronavirus & Healthy Homes Fact Sheet at leadfreemv.org/factsheets.