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Murphy To Propose Bill For Lead Removal Tax Credit

Andrew Harnik

U.S. Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut said he’ll propose a bill that would pay to remove lead from homes and businesses.

Murphy says a tax credit would lower the chances of lead poisoning in Connecticut. In the Northeast, lead was commonly used in paint and pipes in houses built before 1950. The Connecticut Department of Public Health says about 15 percent of buildings in the state might still have lead in their paint or pipes.

"We’ve got to start thinking about ways of preventing crises like Flint, and in the Northeast, especially with all of this older housing, we do have a lot of lead, and if you don’t fix it upfront then you’re going to pay for it by astronomical health care costs for kids who become lead poisoned," he said.

Murphy said he wants to give families and businesses a tax credit of about $5,000 to clean up any lead in their buildings.

According to the EPA, professional lead-based paint removal costs about $8 to $15 per square foot or about $9,600 to $30,000 for a 1,200- to 2,000-square foot house. Replacing old pipes in a 1,500-square foot, two-bathroom home costs $4,000 to $10,000.

“It’s often thousands upon thousands of dollars to take lead out of your home," he said. "Still the right thing to do, because your kids can be at risk, but this tax credit would be a small way that the federal government might be able to tip the balance for homeowners to give them the incentive to take lead out of their house.”

The Connecticut Department of Public Health said lead poisoning rates in the state have been cut in half in the last 10 years, but it said one in about 1,000 children have high levels of lead in their bodies. Lead poisoning is about twice as common in children of low-income families and children of color in Connecticut. That’s because lead was more commonly used in cheaper, low-income housing. Lead can impact IQ and cause learning problems even in cases of mild exposure. It can cause seizures, kidney problems, and even death in high doses.