Get Ahead of Lead


Renewing Our Pledge: A Path to Ending Lead Poisoning of Buffalo’s Most Vulnerable Citizens

The Community Foundation, on behalf of a dedicated group of partners including the City of Buffalo and Erie County, was pleased to share a first-of-its-kind Lead Action Plan with the community on March 27, 2018. Recognizing that lead poisoning permanently reduces a child’s ability to learn and is preventable, the Center for Governmental Research (CGR) was commissioned to evaluate comprehensive lead poisoning data and conduct community interviews. The result is a report entitled: Renewing Our Pledge: A Path to Ending Lead Poisoning of Buffalo’s Most Vulnerable Citizens.

Buffalo & Erie County Lead Safe Task Force

With over 90 percent of Buffalo’s housing built before 1978, the year lead paint was banned, lead poisoning, most often caused by chipping and peeling paint, continues to be a major challenge faced by many of our city’s residents. Especially dangerous for children under age six, lead poisoning is 100 percent preventable.

To address this, the Buffalo and Erie County Lead Safe Task Force was convened by the Community Foundation in 2018 to carry out the recommendations of a comprehensive study of lead poisoning in Buffalo. Findings of the study showed 80 percent of lead poisoning occurs in rental singles and doubles. As a result, the Task Force focused on increasing inspections of those properties and advocated for the passage of City legislation to require regular inspections focused on home health and safety.

In 2023, the Community Foundation committed a $1 million investment over five years to implement the Task Force’s new strategic plan, including amplifying the voices of parents with young children, increasing the volume of grassroots engagement and engaging a broad array of stakeholders in making Buffalo lead-safe.

Today, the Task Force has tripled in membership and a steering committee is expanding to include the voice of families affected by lead poisoning.

Other 2023 accomplishments of the Task Force include:

  • Relaunching an expanded and updated to centralize lead information for parents to help them identify lead hazards and direct them to resources, as well as help property owners understand regulations on lead hazards and assist them to secure resources for remediation. Part of the relaunch included an advertising campaign to direct people to the website.
  • Grants of $7,500 each were awarded to four organizations that work with families with young children. Mini-grants support organizations to invite families to share their challenges and co-create solutions. Heart of the City is coordinating this work.
  • A new workgroup is advocating for policies that protect children from exposure to lead hazards. Since the majority of lead poisoning is caused by deteriorated lead-based paint, code enforcement is critical, including everything from inspections and violations to housing court and resolution. The group has worked closely with the Erie County Department of Health and City of Buffalo Housing Court to improve the Court’s ability to enforce lead violations and ensure lead hazards are remediated.

To learn more about the resources available to help combat lead poisoning in our community, visit

Learn More

Click here to learn more about lead paint hazards and poisoning.
Click here for more information on recent lead recalls.

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

  • Lead Poisoning Primary Prevention Program – Prevention of lead poisoning in children from being exposed to lead hazards. Click here.
  • Lead Hazard Reduction Demonstration Program – Remediation and control of lead hazards available to property owners, qualifying families, and home-based day cares. Click here.

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.

By working together, we can Get Ahead of Lead!