A New Program Aims to Reduce Lead-Based Paint in Wilmington

The Wilmington Housing Authority (WHA) leads the effort to remove lead-based paint from residences in the region.

Lead, once considered a miracle metal for its low melting point, was extensively used in household items like pipes and house paint. Despite our understanding of its hazardous health effects, this toxic substance still lingers in homes today.

The Wilmington Housing Authority (WHA) has initiated a five-year grant program to remove lead-based paint, commonly used for its affordability and durability, which was prohibited from public housing in the U.S. beginning in 1978 due to health concerns.

“The Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction grant program is to remediate any lead contaminants from all WHA housing inventory over the five-year grant period,” WHA executive director Ray Fitzgerald says. “Achieving this goal will help us limit possible [lead] exposure to those most vulnerable, which are children under 6.”

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Exposure to lead or lead dust through touch, ingestion or inhalation can result in brain and nervous system damage, or even death, especially with prolonged exposure.

The WHA received $5 million from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)’s Capital Fund Lead-Based Paint Program in September 2023 to reduce residential hazards in public housing. HUD granted $157 million to 27 state and local government agencies to protect households from lead-based paint hazards.

Related: The Mitchell Awards Recognize Outstanding Individuals in Delaware

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