Toolkit for Communities in the NYS Finger Lakes Region

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Lead is easy to ignore, but it affects many aspects of a community negatively.  Children exposed to lead have more problem behaviors, lower IQs, and lower lifetime earnings.  They are more likely to drop out of school and more likely to commit crime.  Local collaboration can bring about the changes needed to protect children and pregnant women from lead’s irreversible health effects.  Here are ways your community can work together to prevent childhood lead poisoning locally.  Also see the Finger Lakes Counties Community Lead. Report DRAFT 3.25.21., which provides detail on the need for lead poisoning prevention in each county and identifies some of the partners who can connect to implement the Toolkit.

Overall Ideal:

  • Form a local lead poisoning prevention coalition
  • Keep the focus on protecting children and pregnant women from lead exposure
  • Identify representatives/champions from the various sectors of your community (public health, medical, education, municipal/housing, neighborhood associations, community advocacy agencies, legal aid, business/contractor, property owners/managers) who will commit to meeting regularly with the coalition and serve as a liaison with others in their sector
  • Agree on goals and work together to effectively reduce lead exposure locally


Specific Ideas:

  • Public Education and Awareness
    • Work with your local health department to better understand the extent of lead poisoning in your community
    • Determine target audiences and create effective messages
    • Work with neighborhood organizations to do specific outreach
    • Raise awareness about lead sources (paint/dust, soil, water, consumer products)
    • NYS Requirements to test kids at 1 & 2 and whenever they are at risk
  • Multiply efforts of Local Health Department Lead Program
    • Train all home visiting staff (Maternal/Child Health, CPS, DSS, Foster Care, Child Care, Early Intervention, Community Health Workers)
    • Develop and share aggregate data
    • Educate partners & community on how to use data
    • Support grants acquisition across community
    • Collaborate with NYS DOH District Office Sanitarians if in a county served by them
  • Health Care providers – increase screening/testing rates


  • Schools and Childcares – understand how children are exposed and assist those affected
  • Municipalities
    • Understand Lead safe work practices/RRP/lead abatement
    • Identify RRP and other lead certified contractors locally and determine how many additional are needed
    • Consider Lead Pipe Replacement
    • Create policies for proactive housing inspection
    • Educate code enforcement officers – see Finger Lakes Lead Coalition fact sheet
    • Work with your HUD Approved Housing Counseling Agency to educate renters and homebuyers about lead
    • Work with your Housing Authority to make sure public and Section 8 housing is lead safe
    • Apply for grants to assist in lead hazard reduction – NYS, Federal
    • Provide lead classes with continuing education units for Code Enforcement Officers
    • Change building permits to check for lead certification/license for work on pre-1978 homes
    • Joint inspections with city/town/village and county lead program staff; develop and share a housing database
    • Micro-target by neighborhood
    • Find no cost/low cost solutions that get results
    • Bring in Local Officials as partners, providing maps and data by neighborhood, and publicize/recognize their efforts
  • Legal/Courts
  • Contractors & Hardware/Paint Stores
    • Offer lead safe work practice/RRP training
    • Supply packages for lead safe work practice
    • Develop HEPA vacuum loan or group purchases
    • Partner with local colleges, trade associations
  • Landlords
    • Offer landlord association seminars on paint stabilization, window replacement, and lead safe work practice training
    • Get %$ off on bulk replacement windows
    • Create a HEPA vacuum loan program
    • Negotiate for free or reduced clearance dust testing
    • Connect with local grant funded lead hazard reduction programs



  • Katrina Smith Korfmacher PhD – also see Bridging Silos – Collaborating for Environmental Health and Justice in Urban Communities, 2019
  • Cathe Bulwinkle – ideas from experience in Utica & Oneida County NY – shared at CDC Lead & Health Homes Training Center in St. Louis – May 2017
  • National Center for Healthy HousingPreventing Lead Exposure in Children: Blueprint for Action, 2014 
  • Coalition to Prevent Lead PoisoningLEAD SAFE MONROE COUNTY A Plan to Eliminate Childhood Lead Poisoning in Monroe County, January 2007

This toolkit made in part thanks to