News Releases from Region 08
EPA Lead Poisoning Prevention Week: Learn how to protect your home and family
(Denver, Colo.-- October 26, 2015) Lead poisoning is the number one environmental health threat in the U.S. for children under the age of seven. The long-term effects of lead exposure to a child can be severe and may include learning disabilities, decreased growth, behavior problems, impaired hearing, and even brain damage. Pregnant women should avoid exposure to lead because lead can pass through a woman's body into the unborn baby.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has declared October 25-31, Lead Poisoning Prevention Week to make families more aware of the hazards of lead and lead-based paint in homes and child care facilities. This year's theme, "Lead-Free Kids for a Healthy Future," will focus on ways to reduce a child's exposure to lead and prevent its serious health effects. Most homes built before 1978 contain lead-based paint.
The EPA has established lead-safe work practices to help prevent lead exposure when disturbing lead-based paint in these older homes. Under EPA's Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) Rule, contractors, landlords, window replacement firms and other trades performing renovation, repair and painting projects that can disturb lead-based paint in homes, child care facilities, schools and other child-occupied facilities built before 1978 must be certified and must follow Lead-Safe work practices. They must also provide the EPA informational booklet "The Lead-Safe Certified Guide to Renovate Right" prior to the start of work practices to prevent lead contamination.
The RRP Rule does not apply to individuals doing work on the home they own and live in. However, to prevent exposure to lead hazards, the EPA recommends that Lead-Safe work practices be followed for these projects as well. In addition, owners of residential properties built before 1978, are subject to disclosure requirements related to lead and lead-based paint hazards when leasing or selling these properties.
Lead cannot be seen, tasted, or smelled, and it does not break down naturally, so it can remain a problem until it is removed. In the past, lead was widely used in paint, gasoline, water pipes, and many other products. House paint that is sold today is now almost lead-free, leaded gasoline has been phased out, and household plumbing is no longer made with lead materials.
For more information, please go to: www2.epa.gov/lead or call the National Lead Information Center at 1-800-424-LEAD, or 1-800-424-5323.
To find Lead-Safe Certified firms near you go to: http://cfpub.epa.gov/flpp/searchrrp_firm.htm