Project Funder:  University of Illinois at Chicago (subgrant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development)

Project Partners: Chicago Department of Public Health; Peoria Health Department

Project Contact:  David Jacobs,

Project Description: This study (abstract) examines the feasibility of state health department administration of a window replacement program focused on lead poisoning prevention in Peoria and the Englewood neighborhood of Chicago, IL. Average lead dust (PbD) declined by 44% to 98%; one year later, the levels remained well below what they were before the windows were replaced but rose slightly compared with clearance. Households reported statistically significant improvements in uncomfortable indoor temperatures and for children fewer headaches, ear infections, and respiratory allergies. Adults saw improvements in sinusitis and hay fever. Economic benefits were estimated at $5,912,219 compared with a cost of $3,451,841, resulting in a net monetary benefit of $2,460,378. Residents reported that they were “very satisfied” with the window replacement work (87%).

Conclusion: Local and state governments should fund and operate window replacement programs to eliminate a major source of childhood lead exposure, improve energy bills, increase home market value, and create local construction and industrial jobs. Federal agencies should encourage (not discourage) replacement of old windows contaminated with lead. In budget climates such as Illinois with reduced public expenditures, making wise investments such as lead-safe window replacement is more important than ever.