BUFFALO, N.Y. -- According to the most recent Centers For Disease control data, more than 2,300 children across upstate New York tested positive for lead poisoning in 2014.
"When the level of lead is too high in a child's veins, it slows down their development not only as a child but on into adulthood," said Sen. Charles Schumer, D-New York.
The issues exists all across the state but it most prevalent in the Western New York region, where 13 percent of children tested positive. Central New York wasn't far behind, at 12.1 percent.
"Paint that was used in homes routinely had lead in it until 1980, when it was found to be hazardous and most of our homes were built before 1980," Schumer said.
In Erie County, 469 children tested positive.
County leaders said they're not surprised by the numbers. In 2012, the CDC lowered the blood lead level it considered dangerous.
"We're just not starting now," said County Executive Mark Poloncarz, D-Erie County. "We've actually been checking those children, checking those homes even at the lower level. The number is high but it's not a total surprise, truthfully, because we know how many children based on census numbers are living in these at-risk neighborhoods."
Schumer has proposed legislation to add federal tax credits for homeowners to remove lead from their homes and called for increased funding for a Housing and Urban Development Lead Hazard Control grant program.
"It's estimated that if this legislation passed, the combination of the tax credit and the money from the Healthy Homes Anti-Lead program, we could eliminate lead poisoning in kids in upstate New York in 10 years," Schumer said.
"One of the issues, as the doc noted, is most of the people that we're dealing with in these homes, especially in the City of Buffalo, are tenants and they would not qualify for the assistance that the senator's proposed," Poloncarz said.
Erie County said the issues are most prevalent in some suburbs with older homes and the city of Buffalo. In light of the CDC report, the city said its started conversations with the county about how it can help the county.
"Incredibly concerned, very concerned but every government has their function," said Mayor Byron Brown, D-Buffalo. "Every government has their responsibility, so we want to see what they are doing, what they have been doing, where they have been spending money."
Erie County said it remediates about 1,000 homes each year, often at no cost to the homeowner. It uses federal, local and state dollars to fund the program.
Out of the sample of 329 children, 8.8 percent tested positive for lead poisoning in the Rochester-Finger Lakes region and out of 585 children, about 13 percent tested positive in Western New York.