EPA: Beware of lead dangers at home
Lead-based paint still poses risks to kids – rules and tips help reduce risk
(Seattle) – Approximately one million children in the U.S. are affected by lead poisoning, and yet lead poisoning is completely preventable.
As part of an ongoing effort to raise awareness and protect people from health hazards, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency wants consumers to know that without proper training and preparation, home repairs in houses or apartments built before 1978 can harm young children and put families at risk from lead paint chips and dust.
Children are especially vulnerable to the effects of lead because their brains and nervous systems are still developing. And with more kids spending more time in the home during the COVID 19 pandemic, their risk of exposure to lead chips and dust has increased.
It’s important to remember that lead-based paint on walls and other surfaces that is still in good condition is not a health hazard because it can’t be ingested or inhaled. However, improper removal or disturbance of lead-based paint can create lead dust and paint chips that create a health hazard.
EPA’s Lead-Safe Home Repair Certification Program protects consumers – and contractors
If you live in a home or apartment that was built before 1978 and are planning a renovation, repair, or painting project, make sure you do the work safely or use a certified lead-safe contractor trained to know how to protect your family.
If property owners choose to hire someone to do the work on their properties, they should hire a contractor certified under EPA’s Lead renovation, repair, and painting (RRP) program. Contractors intending to work on properties built before 1978 must be certified under the program. Failure to do so can result in penalties against a contractor.
In fact, since October 2019, EPA has taken action against 30 contractors in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington who failed to get EPA-certified before performing work. For more information about EPA’s enforcement of the Lead renovation, repair, and painting program in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska, call Bill Dunbar at 206-245-7452.
Parents and guardians can determine if they or their children have been exposed to lead-based paint by requesting a blood-lead test from their doctor. The National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not recognize any safe blood-lead level, but the current blood-lead level above which the CDC recommends taking action for any child or person is five micrograms per deciliter or more.
Consumers in Idaho, Alaska, Oregon or Washington with questions can call EPA Region 10 at 1-800-424-4372 and ask to speak with a lead paint specialist, or go to www.epa.gov/lead.
How to keep children and families safe from lead poisoning: http://www.leadfreekids.org/.
Lead-Safe Program: http://www2.epa.gov/lead/renovation-repair-and-painting-program-consumers.
Lead Poisoning Home Checklist http://www2.epa.gov/sites/production/files/documents/chancechecklist.pdf.
EPA Renovation, Repair and Painting Certification Guide:
Find a certified lead-safe contractor at: http://cfpub.epa.gov/flpp/searchrrp_firm.htm.
Doing the work yourself? Go to: http://www2.epa.gov/lead/renovation-repair-and-painting-program-do-it-yourselfers.