Page 14 - Alaska Parent Winter 2020 Digital
P. 14

 health & wellness
Get the lead out
Approximately one million children in the U.S. are affected by lead poisoning, and yet lead poisoning is completely preventable, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Without training and proper 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.
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. 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. (For more information about EPA’s enforcement of the Lead renovation, repair and painting program in 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 your 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.
Got questions? Call EPA Region 10 (which includes Alaska) at 1-800-424-4372 and ask to speak with a lead paint specialist, or go to epa.gov/lead.
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