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TROUBLESHOOTERS: Peoria lead paint remediation going far enough?

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PEORIA (HOI) – Despite being banned in 1978, the EPA reports that 69 percent of homes built between 1940 and 1959 have lead paint somewhere in or around the house.

To try and combat those numbers, the Department of Housing and Urban Development has a grant.

Apply – and if you’re accepted – an inspection is done along with work at your home.

Peoria resident Doris Cooper feels her inspector needs to come back.

She’s been living in her home for about three years and she applied for a HUD grant and was accepted.

Zillow shows her home on West Fremont Street was built in 1957.

“Well it was an old house and I had seen it in the paper,” she said. “And I call them and they came out and did the inspections and stuff.

After a survey on March 12, a report states “there were a few areas found that contain lead and in disturbed condition.”

“About a month later I want to say the did work on the house and stuff,” she said. “They put the new windows in.”

Papers show projects were done in 12 different places, including the front porch ceiling enclosure, windows replaced in multiple rooms and additional cleaning in the kitchen.

Despite that, Cooper said she still thinks there’s lead outside her home – where her grandkids play.

“Also, I don’t see one picture on here with peeling of paint and stuff…,” she said. “Yeah you going to see it when we go outside.”

“Not one picture. Look over those pictures. You don’t see not one with peeling do you?”

Outer layers of paint are chipping off on the outside.

We were told that was not the case during the inspection last March.

The health department showed the instrument used to test for lead.

It’s called an XFR and it’s able to test through every layer of paint.

“The grant only allows us to make corrections or renovate lead hazards, so just because there’s lead paint present if it’s in good repair and not crumbling or deteriorating then it’s not considered a hazard,” said Carey Panier, Director of Environmental Health at the Peoria City/County Health Department.

That means in March, the department opted not to touch the siding.

An at-home lead test was used which works on the layer it touches.

It turns read when positive, meaning the green paint is a hazard, and a child could be susceptible for lead poisoning.

Panier said there’s no safe level of lead in the body.

“If children are exposed to lead dust primarily, then it can elevate their blood lead level,” she said.

“It’s scary sometimes cause I got all them kids that live here, especially in the summer,” Cooper said. “They run all through there.”

“We have big cookouts and everything and I don’t want them to get sick, like I said I appreciate what they did do, but I don’t think I got fair treatment.”

Cooper said the last time she talked to someone at the health department was October, when she was told someone would come back out.

Three months later…still nothing.

“I just want them to come back and inspect my garage and my side – all that stuff that’s chipping,” she said. “That’s that the programs for.”

“Once we have the grant up and running, we can evaluate those homes and see what issues they might have and whether or not we can work through the rant to make additional repairs,” Panier said.

Panier said Cooper would need to replace all her siding with vinyl to fix the lead paint problem.

But the grant she’s under now doesn’t cover that.

Cooper would have to apply for a new one, or have her homeowner pay out of pocket.

Panier said it will be a few more months before the program kicks off again.

Jason Howell

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