Welcome to LeadSAFE Erie County, the Erie County Department of Health’s (ECDOH) comprehensive program to prevent lead poisoning. Here, you will find information about lead poisoning and the services available through the ECDOH and our community partners to eliminate lead poisoning.
Lead Poisoning Prevention - What’s New!
Quote: “Millions of children are being exposed to lead in their homes, increasing their risks for damage to the brain and nervous system, slowed growth and development, learning and behavioral problems, and hearing and speech problems” National Center for Environmental Health
Despite significant progress, childhood lead poisoning remains a serious problem in Erie County and throughout New York State. Every year thousands of children under the age of six are diagnosed with elevated blood lead levels in Erie County. Thousands more are exposed to lead hazards in their homes every day.
Conditions that give rise to lead poisoning can be found anywhere in Erie County however they are especially prevalent in neighborhoods that have a high amount of older housing. Nine of the county's zip codes which lie within the City of Buffalo - 14201, 14207, 14208, 14209, 14210, 14211, 14212, 14213, and 14215 - have been designated by the Department of Health as “Communities of Concern”, where children are at exceptionally high risk for lead poisoning. Click here for a map of Communities of Concern.
Lead and Lead Poisoning
Lead is an element found naturally in the earth’s crust that has been mined and used by people for thousands of years. It is useful in manufacturing, surface coatings and glazes, automobile batteries, and a variety of industrial processes. Up until 1978, lead was used in many house paints. Even today, deteriorating lead-based paint in homes can lead to high (and unsafe) concentrations of lead in house dust.
Like iron, calcium and magnesium, lead is a metal. However, unlike those minerals, which are needed by the human body, lead is a poison – even in very small amounts. It can cause learning disabilities, behavioral problems, and, at very high levels, seizures, coma, and even death. Young children, when exposed to high levels of lead in house dust, are particularly vulnerable. Since there is NO medical treatment to permanently reverse the adverse health effects of lead exposure in children, it is critical to focus on prevention. If you live in pre 1978 housing, it is important to safeguard the children in your home or apartment from suffering the damaging effects of lead poisoning, by keeping the home clean and keeping painted surfaces intact.
For more information on how you can protect your family, please contact LEADSAFE Erie County at 716-961-6800 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) website or call 1-800-424-LEAD (5323).
In response LEADSAFE Erie County offers the following programs that support the prevention and elimination of lead poisoning:
Home Renovation, Repair and Painting
“If your home was built before 1978, there is a good chance it has lead-based paint.” - Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
If you are performing any renovations or repairs on your pre 1978 house or plan on hiring a contractor, then you need to work lead safe!
Doing the work yourself? Get trained!
Trainings & Certifications
Get certified and learn how to perform Lead Safe Work Practices. Every year hundreds of children are diagnosed with lead poisoning due to exposure of lead hazards during home repairs and renovations.
The Erie County Department of Health offers FREE classes on how to protect you and your family from being exposed to lead hazards while doing renovations in your pre 1978 home. Classes are open to the public and are offered monthly. Registration is required. For more information or to register call 716-961-6800.
Class Schedule & Registration (coming soon)
Hiring a Contractor?
Make sure they are certified in RRP! Contractors who perform renovation, repairs, and painting in pre 1978 housing as part of their jobs need to have this certification and must take special precautions around paint that may contain lead. Be sure to ask your contractor about their certification(s).
Under strict EPA rules that took effect on April 22, 2010, special certification is required for all home improvement activity in housing built before 1978 and in ANY child occupied facility. This rule, "Renovating, Repairing and Painting (RRP)" is intended to ensure that any activity that disturbs paint in older housing is performed using lead-safe work practices. For more information visit the EPA "RRP" website or call 1-800-424-LEAD (5323).