While lead paint poisoning has subsided, lead paint is still present in our homes.
In honor of National Lead Prevention Week, October 24 – October 30, please take time to ensure our children live in a lead safe environment. Two laws were enacted, the lead law and Renovation Repair and Paint (RRP), to make our homes lead safe. In 1978, Congress required that all home built before 1978 have lead hazards corrected if a child under 6 occupies or visits frequently. In July, Massachusetts adopted the EPA’s RRP rule which requires that any renovation, repair, or painting work done on a pre-1978 house should be handled by trained and certified contractors.
Unsafe work practices and lead hazards can cause children to become lead poisoned. Most commonly, lead dust can enter the body by ingestion through normal hand-to-mouth activity. Lead dust is often generated when windows and doors are open and shut as welll as deteriorating, chipping and peeling lead based paints. Lead poisoning and a level of concern are preventable.
In the July 2009 edition of Environmental Health Perspectives, Elise Gould from the Economic Policy Institute provides some sobering numbers to this issue. According to her, the Unites States is losing $192-270 billion annually to treat, educationally and medically, poisoned children as well as the loss of revenue. These costs are understandable since lead poisoning can cause lower IQs, behaviorial problems, learning disabilities, miscarriages, and low birth weights. With the financial challenges facing our school systems and our municipalities, taxpayers can ill afford to lose revenue due to a preventable disease.
Many believe that prevention costs are prohibitive. However, lead abatement grants are available to those who qualify to delead home within the Merrimack Valley through the City of Lowell’s Department of Planning and Development. If you need more information or have any questions or concerns about preventing lead poisoning please contact us at 978-446-7200.