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Gov. Wolf: Lead-Free PA Initiative Seeking Input on Local Needs

October 31, 2019

Harrisburg, PA – As part of continuing efforts to advance his Lead-Free PA initiative, Governor Tom Wolf announced today that the commonwealth is issuing a Request for Information (RFI) through the Department of Human Services to gather input on local efforts and needs to reduce lead exposure in Pennsylvania. With the goal of expanding efforts to have children tested for lead exposure and helping communities expand their lead exposure prevention and mitigation strategies, the commonwealth wants to learn the needs of communities across the state with this RFI.

“It’s imperative that we stay focused on work to end lead exposure and eliminate its effects in our commonwealth,” Gov. Wolf said. “I am hopeful that communities across the state respond with detailed information on specific needs and efforts so that we can develop a comprehensive plan toward a lead-free Pennsylvania.”

Through this RFI, the commonwealth hopes to learn from communities about current needs and efforts to address lead hazards, the capacity to address needs, and where gaps exist to further address lead hazards and exposure. Information requested includes details on the knowledge and experience of communities working to remove lead hazards from child care centers, schools, homes, playgrounds, and other places where children live, learn, and play.

In August, Governor Wolf announced his Lead-Free Pennsylvania initiative to call attention to the need for a law requiring universal blood level testing of children according to federal guidelines, and to convene regional task forces to address specific local needs. The information received from the RFI will help to inform the regional task forces and allow the state to provide a detailed proposal to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services by the end of the year to permit use of CHIP Health Services Initiatives (HSI) funds to address specific community needs around lead exposure and remediation.

While the HSI funds will be an important step in the right direction, state and local efforts to obtain additional funding for lead issues are ongoing. Last week, Gov. Wolf announced receipt of more than $20 million in Housing and Urban Development grants for the state and five local areas to address lead abatement efforts. The state has also applied to receive federal Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act funding to test child care and elementary schools for lead in drinking water. This testing would prioritize facilities serving children ages 6 and under, underserved and low-income communities, and facilities that are older and more likely to contain lead plumbing.

“By directly seeking the input of our communities and their partners, and pursuing all sources of funding, we are hopeful we can compile a complete list of needs so that funding, when allocated, goes directly to programs and initiatives that produce swift and measurable results toward protecting Pennsylvanians,” Gov. Wolf said.

RFI responses are due by 12 p.m., December 2. Responses must be submitted electronically to RA-PWRFICOMMENTS@PA.GOV with “Lead Exposure Reduction Program RFI” in the email subject line.

Questions related to the RFI may be submitted in writing to RA-PWRFICOMMENTS@PA.GOV using “Lead Exposure Reduction RFI question” in the email subject line. The commonwealth will post answers at http://www.emarketplace.state.pa.us.

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