2003 Adopted Resolutions
71st Annual Meeting

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WHEREAS, The national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ("CDC") identify childhood lead poisoning as one of the most common and preventable health problems facing young children in the United States; and

WHEREAS, With the support of the CDC and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development ("HUD"), collaborative programs have reduced the baseline blood lead levels in children under six to an average of 2.7 g/dL, from a high of 15 g/dL in the early 1980s; and

WHEREAS, In January, the CDC released a study that shows the number of children under six with elevated blood lead levels has dropped nationwide since the early 1990s from an estimated 890,000 to an estimated 434,000, a reduction from 4.4% to 2.2% of children nationwide; and

WHEREAS, The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA") and HUD recognize intact lead paint poses little immediate risk to occupants of residential housing but estimate that 3.8 million families with young children live in housing with deteriorating, flaking lead paint and/or excessive lead dust; and

WHEREAS, The President's Task Force on Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks to Children reported in 2000 that more than 80% of the interior lead paint that still exists today was applied before 1940, that less that 4% of the existing lead-based paint was applied after 1960, and the Federal Government banned the use of lead-based paint for residential use in 1978; and

WHEREAS, Most of the children who have elevated blood lead levels or are at high-risk for lead poisoning live in poverty and in older, deteriorating housing and are the most difficult to reach for prevention and follow-up; and

WHEREAS, Model cities such as: Baltimore, Minneapolis and Boston have dramatically reduced the numbers of children who are lead poisoned through vigorous programs of testing children, remediating housing units, and enforcing of city and state laws concerning property owners' duties to maintain lead-safe housing; and

WHEREAS, Former Executive Director of the NAACP and current Co-Chair of the Children's Health Forum, Dr. Benjamin Hooks has been traveling throughout the country speaking on ways to effectively make our cities and towns lead-safe; and

WHEREAS, Dr. Hooks has teamed up with former HUD Secretary Jack Kemp to Co-Chair the Children's Health Forum and to ask Congress and the Administration to fund, at a level of $50 million, a new lead hazard control grant program at HUD; and

WHEREAS, Dr. Hooks and Secretary Kemp, asked for and received support in their efforts from concerned non-profits such as the Children's Defense Fund, the League of United Latin American Citizens, the National Congress for Community Economic Development, and corporate citizens such as DuPont,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the US Conference of Mayors:

  • Commends Senators Christopher "Kit" Bond and Barbara Mikulski in their tireless work with the Children's Health Forum and others in the non-profit and private sector in succeeding in appropriating to HUD an additional $50 million for an entirely new program for American cities to eradicate childhood lead poisoning by 2010;
  • Calls on HUD to quickly award the HUD monies before the end of the summer;
  • Calls on all concerned members of the USCM to implement proactive, results-orientated strategies that include public-private partnerships in pursuit of making their cities lead-safe by the year 2010;
  • Calls on Congress to continue to significantly increase federal funding for lead hazard remediation in privately-owned, low-income housing, through the HUD Lead Hazard Control Grant Program or otherwise, to at least $250 million per year;
  • Urges government officials to vigorously enforce lead-related federal, state, and local laws, including those requiring property owners to inform occupants about the risks of lead hazards, to abate any lead hazards in their properties, and to prevent any such hazards from arising in the future; and
  • Encourages cities, non-profits, and interested businesses to creatively engage in public-private partnerships to implement best practices to advance the elimination of lead hazards and the eradication of lead poisoning.