Picente: Lead Poisoning Prevention Program Receives Extra Funding

Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente, Jr., today announced that the Oneida County Health Department’s Lead Primary Prevention Program has received a $30,000 increase in  funding provided by the New York State Department of Health’s Lead Primary Prevention grant and will use that money to increase inspections in the areas of Utica at the highest risk of lead poisoning.

“The Lead Primary Prevention Program has done an outstanding job of working with the community to protect children and families who live in Utica’s Cornhill and West Utica neighborhoods -- where the age of the housing puts these families at high risk for lead poisoning. Through their efforts, initial childhood lead poisoning rates have been reduced by 30 percent since 2009,” Picente said. “The funding will allow us to maintain the momentum we have and increase our successes.”

“County Government is committed to increasing our outreach and education efforts to reduce the risk of exposure to lead and to educate residents of older housing in Utica’s urban core neighborhoods about the potential dangers of lead,” Picente said. “Given the transient nature of much of the rental population and the arrival of new refugee populations, we are aware that the communication and outreach strategy must have high-impact visibility and respond to the diversity within the community.”

Picente noted that the Health Department has begun making housing inspection using iPad tablet computers because the iPads with integrated cameras make it possible to complete an inspection report while in the field by permitting digital photographs to be taken and  floor-plan sketches to be created and uploaded in the field;  allow supervisors to view violations in real time and make recommendations for additional inspection areas or sampling; and improve communications between supervisors and field staff. 

“The Lead Primary Prevention Program has been successful because the Health Department keeps pushing the envelope of what we can accomplish. The success of this project is not measured in numbers as much as it in the lives of children who will grow up healthier,” Picente said.