HUD Calls Attention to Lead Poisoning Issue
HUD, along with other national agencies and an advocacy group, wants families to get the message about the dangers of lead and the health risks it poses to children and pregnant women.
In an initiative to raise awareness of the consequences of lead poisoning among those who live in homes built before 1978, HUD joined the Coalition to End Childhood Lead Poisoning, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Ad Council to kick off a national multimedia public service advertising (PSA) campaign.
The campaign, running nationwide on TV and radio, is directed primarily at parents and caregivers of children age 6 and under and pregnant women. These are the populations most at risk for lead poisoning. The most common pathway for lead poisoning, according to the EPA, is caused by deteriorating lead-based paint, which can be found on older windows, doors, and trim, or walls.
Problems also arise from improper renovation, repair, and painting activities that cause paint to chip, peel, or flake. Children can be poisoned by ingesting lead dust that has accumulated on their hands, fingers, toys, or clothing from lead hazard sources like floors and windowsills.
The PSAs direct parents to visit a new Web site, http://www.leadfreekids.org, or call a toll-free number, 800-424-LEAD, to learn more about where lead might be found in their homes, how to protect children from exposure to lead, and steps to take if they think a family has been exposed to lead. The Web site, also available in Spanish, offers free toolkits that can be downloaded.
Renovation, Repair, and Painting Rule Now Effective
In related news, the EPA's “Renovation, Repair, and Painting Rule” became effective April 22. It applies to paid renovators who work in pre-1978 housing and child-occupied facilities.
On April 22, 2008, the EPA issued a rule requiring the use of lead-safe practices and other actions aimed at preventing lead poisoning. Under the rule, beginning in April 2010, contractors performing renovation, repair and painting projects that disturb lead-based paint in homes, child care facilities, and schools built before 1978 must be certified and must follow specific work practices to prevent lead contamination. Up until the rule became effective, HUD and the EPA were recommending that anyone performing renovation, repair, and painting projects that disturb lead-based paint in pre-1978 homes, child care facilities, and schools should follow lead-safe work practices.
There are some differences between the EPA rule and the HUD Lead Safe Housing Rule (LSHR). A major difference is that the LSHR requires clearance examinations. All housing receiving federal assistance must still comply with the LSHR.
All contractors must follow three simple procedures:
Contain the work area;
Minimize dust; and
Clean up thoroughly.
Since the rule became effective on April 22, it is being applied to paid renovators who work in pre-1978 housing and child-occupied facilities, including:
Maintenance workers in multifamily housing; and
Painters and other specialty trades.
Under the now-effective rule, child-occupied facilities are defined as residential, public, or commercial buildings where children under age 6 are present on a regular basis. The requirements apply to renovation, repair, or painting activities. The rule does not apply to minor maintenance or repair activities where less than six square feet of lead-based paint is disturbed in a room or where less than 20 square feet of lead-based paint is disturbed on the exterior. Window replacement is not minor maintenance or repair.
For more information, check the HUD Web site at: http://www.hud.gov/offices/lead/training/rrp/rrp.cfm.
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