The Niagara County Department of Health has been awarded a $2.75 million grant from the federal Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Program.

According to the health department, the award, originally $2 million, was increased by $750,000. Of the increase, $250,000 was designated for other healthy home interventions.

The lead hazard reduction program, administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, underwrites local efforts to identify and remove lead-based paint hazards in homes across the county.

“These crucial funds help to ensure our communities have the support and resources necessary to prevent lead poisoning in children,” Daniel J. Stapleton, public health director, said.

Lead exposure commonly occurs in older homes, where lead remains in paint, dust and soil that children ingest through normal hand-to-mouth behavior. Lead was banned from use in residential paints in 1978. People living and working in residential structures built before 1978 may be exposed to lead hazards.

The health department will work with contractors to remove lead hazards in eligible homes with children younger than 6 years old, according to Paul Dicky, director of environmental health.

For more information about free or low-cost lead-based paint hazard reduction, call 278-8268.

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