Getting the lead out of homes is being prioritized in more areas across New York. State officials are trying to get more funds to the county level to ensure families can live without worry of lead paint or lead pipes.

Here's the latest on lead poisoning prevention, and what’s still to come.

Brahvan Ranga, political director for grassroots group For The Many said lead paint and pipes are affecting many of the renters they advocate for.

“Tenants are dependent on their landlord to replace the pipes or not," Ranga said. "Without strong tenant protections, tenants are often afraid to approach their landlord and ask them to repair conditions, including provide safe drinking water by replacing lead pipes." 

Prolonged exposure to lead can lead to negative health effects, especially in young children. It can slow growth and development and lead to damage to the brain and nervous system. 

New York is trying to get lead out of homes.

Ulster is one of the counties to receive a grant that will go to landlords to remediate lead in low- and middle-income rental housing. Last year’s budget included $20 million for lead hazard removal. 

Ulster County Executive Jen Metzger said these funds will help remediate 45 buildings.   

“Sometimes, the tenants have to leave the property temporarily while the work is being done. So, you know, this funding can also go toward temporary relocation, or housing for residents while this work is being done. So it’s a very helpful program,” Metzger said.

A statewide registry of lead status in rental properties is slated to go online in 2025. 

Metzger said in the meantime, renters who live in homes built before 1940 should test for lead paint and contact their landlord if they find it. And if the property owner does not seek remediation, renters should then contact Ulster County.

“Lead remediation, if it's detected in residences, we can take legal action. And in fact, we're beefing up our enforcement capacity. We've taken on… hired counsel in the Department of Health,” Metzger said.

Ranga said officials must prioritize getting lead paint and pipes out of homes.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has yet to identify if there is any safe blood lead level for children.

“It’s the responsibility of local elected officials to apply for grants to get these pipes replaced," Ranga said. "And also the responsibility of our state-level elected officials to use their power as advocates to get this state and federal funding necessary.”