Congresswoman Summer Lee Announced $190,940 to Women for a Healthy Environment to Combat Lead Poisoning in Pittsburgh at Press Conference

**FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE**

November 21, 2023 

CONTACT: Emilia Rowland, Emilia.Rowland@mail.house.gov

Congresswoman Summer Lee Announced $190,940 to Women for a Healthy Environment to Combat Lead Poisoning in Pittsburgh at Press Conference

(Pittsburgh, PA) Today, Congresswoman Summer Lee (PA-12) announced that Women for a Healthy Environment (WHE) has received a $190,940 federal grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to educate environmental justice communities in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania about the sources and health impacts of lead exposure and provide solutions to reduce lead exposure. 

Link to Videos & Photos

I am proud to announce this critical grant funding to Women for a Healthy Environment,” said Congresswoman Lee. “Lead poisoning is a serious public health issue, disproportionately impacting children of color and low-income families. This funding will allow WHE to continue its vital work to protect the health and well-being of our most vulnerable communities in Pittsburgh.”

  • 1 in 10 children under the age of 6 in Allegheny County has a blood lead level above the CDC’s action level of 5 micrograms per deciliter.
  • Children of color are disproportionately affected by lead poisoning. Black children are 10 times more likely to have a blood lead level above 5 µg/dL than white children.
  • Lead poisoning can have a devastating impact on children’s health. It can cause cognitive impairments, behavioral problems, and learning disabilities. In severe cases, lead poisoning can even lead to death.

The grant will be used to fund a three-year project that will focus on educating and empowering residents of environmental justice communities across Allegheny County to take action to protect their children from lead exposure.

Congresswoman Summer Lee announced the grant at a press conference at Jeremiah’s Place, located at 6435 Frankstown Ave, Pittsburgh on November 21, 2023 at 11 am.

WHE’s grant project will include a variety of activities, including:

  • Targeted lead education and advocacy for families in priority neighborhoods with children ages zero to six, to raise awareness of lead exposure in Pittsburgh
  • Creative storytelling initiatives to enhance family awareness of lead hazards and ways to reduce exposure
  • Training child care providers in Pittsburgh on lead-safe practices
  • Accessible lead education resources to overcome language barriers

The announcement took place at Jeremiah’s Place, an emergency early learning center in Pittsburgh which successfully completed WHE’s 1000 Hours a Year lead testing program and is certified as Eco-Healthy.® Jeremiah’s Place will serve as a model for other early learning centers in Pittsburgh and will provide a safe and healthy learning environment for children.

“We are grateful for Congresswoman Lee’s support and for this CDC grant,” said Michelle Naccarati-Chapkis, Executive Director at WHE. “Lead exposure is a known, but preventable environmental health hazard, and we are committed to working with community members across the region to make certain that all children have a safe and healthy place to live, learn, and grow regardless of their zip code.”

Recently, the House passed Congresswoman Summer Lee’s amendment highlighting the need to protect children’s health by increasing funding for testing and remediation of lead contamination in drinking water at schools and child care facilities. This amendment was added to the FY2024 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act.

Lee’s amendment will specifically address the tremendous need for additional investment in lead testing in Western Pennsylvania: 

The inclusion of Lee’s amendment makes clear the desperate need for this funding despite Republicans’ ongoing attempts to cut funding for many essential programs necessary to protect children against toxins in the air and drinking water. 


About WHE: WHE is a non-profit organization that empowers underserved communities to build resilience, promote equity, and safeguard children from environmental health hazards. We collaborate with families, schools, and early learning centers to create healthy environments where children can thrive. Guided by science, we advocate for policies and programs that foster equitable lives free from environmental harms.

About Jeremiah’s Place:

Jeremiah’s Place protects children and strengthens families by providing a safe haven of respite, health, renewal, and support for children when their families are experiencing a critical need for childcare. As a crisis nursery, Jeremiah’s Place provides 24/7, judgment-free emergency childcare to children ages 0-6 at no cost to families. Jeremiah’s Place offers all of the necessities a child may need, as well as educational and emotional enrichment through daily programming. 


Since taking office in January, Lee, who serves on the House Oversight Committee and Space, Science and Technology Committee, has delivered historic levels of federal investment totaling over $870 million brought back to Western PA, including over $200 million for infrastructure, over $50 million for affordable transit, and over $500 million to keep clean energy manufacturing at home in Pennsylvania. These investments will help improve Western Pennsylvania’s infrastructure and transit, ensure cleaner air and drinking water, lower housing costs, fund research institutions, fuel clean manufacturing, fund STEM innovation and entrepreneurship, boost workforce development, and create thousands of good paying union jobs.  Lee and her team have also delivered casework and constituent services to over 1,380 constituents with issues ranging from helping our seniors and disabled community access Medicare and social security to helping folks secure housing and helping families with immigration support and passports.

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