MASON CITY — The Cerro Gordo County Department of Public Health has received a $2.1 million federal grant to continue their efforts protecting children and families from the hazards of lead-based paint and other home health and safety issues.
The competitive grant from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development aims to reduce the number of children with elevated blood lead levels and protect families from lead poisoning by targeting income-eligible homes in the county containing lead-based paint. The grant aims to repair and remove lead hazards and other health and safety hazards in 65 area homes in the next four years.
Older homes and poverty are both risk factors for exposure to lead and other safety hazards. Nearly 13% of Cerro Gordo County children live in poverty and almost 55% of homes in Cerro Gordo County were built prior to 1960 when concentration of lead in paint was higher.
Lead-contaminated dust from deteriorated lead paint is the primary cause of young children’s lead exposure and can lead to a variety of health problems, including reduced IQ, learning disabilities, developmental delays, reduced height, and impaired hearing. At higher levels, lead can damage a child’s kidneys and central nervous system and cause anemia, coma, convulsions and even death.