Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo

Wipe Out Lead

Why it Matters

Many houses and apartments built before 1978 have paint that contain high levels of lead. Lead from paint, chips, and dust can pose serious health hazards if not taken care of properly. When children breathe or ingest lead dust, they can become poisoned and get very sick.

Every year, hundreds of children are diagnosed with lead poisoning due to exposure to lead hazards during home repairs and renovations. It is crucial to prevent children from ingesting lead or lead dust in any form, from any source. One way to prevent lead ingestion is through the implementation of lead safe work practices. These practices are simple safeguards everyday homeowners can take during home-improvement projects to keep themselves and families safe from lead dust. Another way is through the practice of the EPA’s Renovate, Repair, and Paint rules for property owners, landlords and contractors. Making sure contractors, landlords and other property owners follow these rules is critical to lessen and prevent the spread of lead and lead dust in the home.

Classes to learn to work lead safe

If you are a homeowner or Do-It-Yourselfer who wants to take a free class to learn more about Lead Safe Work Practices to do work on your own home, please click here.

In honor of Lead Poisoning Prevention Awareness week, the Erie County Department of Health is offering FREE “how to” workshops for homeowners who are renovating, repairing or painting their pre-1978 homes on:

• Wednesday, October 25th from 1:00 PM to 7:00PM
• Thursday, October 26th from 6:00PM to 10:00 PM
• Saturday, November 4th from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM
• Wednesday, November 8th from 5:00 PM to 9:00 PM

Registration is required. Please call (716) 961-6800 for more information on classes.

If you are a property manager, landlord, or rental property owner, and you want to do work on a rental property, including owner occupied units, following the Renovating, Repairing or Paining (RRP) rules, please click here.

Learn More

For more information about the Environmental Protection Agency’s Renovation, Repair and Paint Rule, please click here.

Steps to Lead Safe RRP information, please click here.

If you are concerned about the potential for lead in water pipes in your home, New York State also offers a water testing pilot program, which is free and available to anyone who wants to apply. For information on the program, click here.

Thousands of children in Erie County have already fallen victim to lead poisoning, and Western New York is a hotbed of lead paint hazards. One-third of all lead poisoning cases reported in New York State (outside of New York City) are located in nine zip codes in Buffalo: 14201, 14207, 14208, 14209, 14210, 14211, 14212, 14213 and 14215--making our region one of the most dangerous for young children nationwide.

While lead is potentially harmful to individuals at any age, it is especially dangerous for children under the age of six. Lead poisoning causes permanent neurological damage including loss of I.Q., developmental delays, learning disabilities, memory loss, hearing loss, attention deficits, hyperactivity, and behavioral disorders. In extreme cases, lead exposure can result in organ failure and death.

The good news is that lead poisoning is 100% preventable, and there are things you can do to help protect your family and our community:

  1. Test your children and home for lead
  2. Feed your children a healthy diet
  3. Learn how to do lead-safe home repairs and remodeling
  4. Avoid exposing your family to lead
  5. Volunteer your time and resources to help us help those most at risk

By working together, we can Wipe Out Lead!

Learn More


The Erie County Department of Health has the following programs entirely dedicated to support the elimination of lead poisoning:

For more information about these programs, or for general information on how to help prevent lead poisoning, Buffalo residents, call 311. Erie County residents, call (716) 961-6800.

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