U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today announced legislation to reduce lead hazards for New Yorkers by helping families cover the cost of eliminating lead from their homes. The Home Lead Safety Tax Credit Act of 2021 would create flexible tax credits worth up to $4,000 to cover the cost of abating lead hazards in paint, pipes, or soil. The tax credits would be available to offset costs of eliminating lead paint exposure. Additionally, the legislation would supplement other federal, state and local lead control programs to ensure clean drinking water for New Yorkers by replacing miles of lead pipes.
“Everyone should have a home that can keep them safe from health risks, yet thousands of New Yorkers and their families are dealing with the tragic consequences of lead poisoning from exposure in their homes. Unfortunately, many families who know the risk of lead exposure in their homes simply can’t afford the overwhelming and costly remediation process,” said Senator Gillibrand. “This bill will take important steps to address this public health challenge and ensure homeowners can address the dangerous threat of lead poisoning in their paint, pipes, or soil. Existing lead hazard control programs are not enough, families need direct and flexible resources to finally eliminate lead from their homes and protect their health.”
Lead poisoning can cause serious health effects in children and is most commonly found in older pipes, paint, and soil. According to the CDC, the health effects range from permanent neurological damage and developmental delays to memory loss, hearing loss and more. In adults, lead poisoning is known to cause kidney, heart, and reproductive issues.
According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, approximately 22 million homes in states across the country still contain potentially hazardous sources of lead. In some cities across New York State, such as Buffalo and Syracuse, more than 90% of houses were built before lead-based paint was banned for residential use in 1978. In 2017, the Onondaga County Health Department reported that more than 10% of Syracuse children had elevated lead levels in their blood. Additionally, in nearly 20 buildings across New York City, more than 26,000 children under the age of 18 tested positive for elevated blood levels between 2013-2018. According to the 2019 NYC Department of Health Report, many children under 6 in Brooklyn Borough Park and Greenpoint have been found to have blood lead levels of more than 5 micrograms per deciliter — much higher than most children’s levels according to the CDC.
Specifically, the Home Lead Safety Tax Credit would:
- Provide temporary refundable tax credits worth up to $4,000 to cover 50% of the costs of lead abatement of paint, pipes, and soil through 2024;
- Be available to homeowners, renters, landlords, or any parties paying for the abatement.
- Help with additional lead abatement costs not covered by state tax credits and other programs.
The Green & Healthy Homes Initiative estimates that the bill could help remediate more than one million houses and apartments across the country and would support more than 62,000 temporary jobs.
As part of the American Jobs Plan, President Biden has committed to investing in the elimination of lead pipes and service lines across the country. These provisions would improve the health of children and communities of color who have been particularly affected by lead hazards, and create thousands of jobs in the process.