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>> The water crisis in Flint, Michigan focused national attention on the dangers of lead exposure. And over the past year, Reuters has found more than 3,300 neighborhoods across the United States where childhood lead poisoning rates are at least twice as high as Flint's. Now, President Trump is pushing for steep budget cuts that experts say could cause more children to suffer the life-long effects of lead exposure.
I'm Andy Sullivan in Washington outside the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, one of the federal government's front-line agencies in the fight against lead. HUD secretary Ben Carson told congress that he had seen first hand the devastating effects of childhood lead poisoning when he worked as a surgeon in inner city Baltimore.
He's now asking congress for $20 million more for his main lead abatement program. But that pales in comparison to the billions of dollars in cuts that the Trump Administration is seeking from other efforts such as clean-up, enforcement, and affordable housing. Advocates say that if Trump's budget is enacted, it would strand countless children in dangerous contaminated homes.
Those cuts would mean less help for families like the Chaudaris in Buffalo, New York. When their two-year-old daughter was found to have high levels of lead in her blood, local officials used federal money to install a new roof and replace windows and siding that were coated with lead paint.
The father in the family MB Chattery took classes to learn how to safely remove lead paint himself. All that money would disappear if Trump got his way. It's unclear whether Trump will get anywhere with these proposed budget cuts when Congress returns at the end of April. Lawmakers from both parties say they're gonna try to do expand lead poisoning prevention programs not cut them.
But even if this budget is dead on arrival, it's a clear statement of priorities from the Trump administration. In the wake of the Flint crisis, the fight against lead ranks low on their list.