NCHH Calls for Restoration of Funding to CLPPPs as New Survey Results Are Unveiled

Budget Cuts Adversely Affect More than Half of State and Local Lead Poisoning Prevention Programs

Budget Cuts Adversely Affect More than Half of State and Local Lead Poisoning Prevention Programs

COLUMBIA, MD (August 1, 2013) – A new survey conducted by the National Center for Healthy Housing (NCHH) documents the significant impact of federal public health funding cuts on Healthy Homes and Childhood Lead Prevention Programs, including the elimination of 57 percent of positions nationwide. The survey outcomes fuel NCHH’s resolve to persist in efforts that restore federal funding to these programs.

In May 2012, Congress reduced the budget for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Healthy Homes and Childhood Lead Poising Prevention Programs from $29 million in FY11 to $2 million in FY12, effectively eliminating grants to state and local health departments for lead poisoning prevention.

As a response to the budget cuts, NCHH conducted an online survey to gauge the impact of the loss of CDC funding for Healthy Homes and Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Programs. This survey demonstrates how the slashing of CDC’s budget for Healthy Homes and Childhood Lead Poisoning Programs has reverberated across the country, forcing state and local health departments to cut well regarded and effective services that are essential to public health.

The analysis of the online survey is based on responses from a total of 22 state programs and shows that more than half of the positions funded by CDC grants have been either eliminated or shifted to other duties due to the federal budget cuts. The positions lost include those focused on preventing lead poisoning, providing services to children who have already been exposed to lead and enforcing state and local laws that require homes to be made lead-safe.

The loss of the safety net provided by this vital public health work force is a serious concern for state and local program administrators. States and local programs are competing for alternative sources of funding and reimbursement for these services, with varying degrees of success.

“Public health departments have prevented childhood lead poisoning for over two decades. They have come to the aid of families with children who have been exposed to lead and also work to prevent the disease,” said Rebecca Morley, executive director of National Center for Healthy Housing. “Our survey revealed that as a result of federal cuts to these programs, the public health workforce has been severely impacted. Americans will receive fewer services in the area of lead prevention.”

Low levels of lead exposure have been linked with negatively impacting school performance and test scores, as well as serious health-related issues like physical and cognitive ability. Lead exposure without early intervention by state and local health departments often results in increased long-term costs and complications to communities and families in health, education, and emergency services.

The most vulnerable populations are also the most likely to suffer from the lack of services available to prevent and track lead exposure, additionally compounding the potential services needed to resolve the issues in the future. A Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report released in April 2013 showed children belonging to families with a low income (130 percent of poverty level) are more than three times as likely as children in higher income families to have high blood lead levels. Non-Hispanic black children are more than twice as likely as non-Hispanic white children to have blood lead levels at or above 5 µg/dL. The report shows long-standing disparities persist and resources are needed in areas and communities where children are most at risk.

“Government disinvestment at the federal level to monitor for such devastating diseases like lead poisoning will come back to haunt us in other areas of the federal budget,” said Morley. “Lead exposure has been linked to delayed development and increased youth crime rates, which have a direct impact on special education expenses and the costs of juvenile delinquency. Federal support of these programs is an investment in safe and healthy families and communities.”

The National Safe and Healthy Housing Coalition, chaired by NCHH, is committed to persuading the Obama Administration and Congress to fully fund the needed services in fiscal year 2014.

To read the full summary of results from the survey of Healthy Homes and Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Programs, click here.

About the National Center for Healthy Housing
The National Center for Healthy Housing is the preeminent national nonprofit dedicated to creating safe and healthy housing for America’s families. It has trained over 35,000 individuals in lead-safe and healthy housing practices since 2005, and its research provides the scientific basis for major federal policies and programs. NCHH develops scientifically valid and practical strategies to make homes safe from hazards and to protect low-income families at highest risk. You can follow NCHH on Twitter @nchh or become a fan on Facebook. To see a video about NCHH, visit

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