PROTECT YOUR FAMILY
Facts about lead: Lead is a soft, bluish metal found in the Earth's crust. It is virtually indestructible and is nonbiodegradable. Manufacturers haveused lead in many different products, including paint, batteries, water pipes, solder, pottery and gasoline. HUD estimates that75% of the houses built in the United States before 1978 contain some lead-based paint. In 1991, the Secretary of HUDcharacterized lead poisoning as the "number one environmental threat to the health of children in the United States." (ref:Federal Register Vol. 59, No. 46 dated March 9, 1994) "One-sixth of all children in the United States still have high levels oflead in their blood."
Title X, the EPA law, requires that all pre-1978 dwellings (estimated to be over 64 million) are subject to certain disclosurerules regarding the presence of lead prior to a sale or rental. For owners of four or more residential dwellings, the federalrequirements are applicable on September 6, 1996 and for owners of one to four residential dwellings, the requirements areapplicable on December 6, 1996. (Federal Register / Vol 61. No. 45/ Wednesday, March 6, 1996 / Rules and Regulations.)Some States have pre-empted this Federal Law and presently require disclosure of such hazards.
According to a new study released in November by the Natural Resources Defense Council, the five most serious environmental threats to children in the United States are lead, air pollution, pesticides, tobacco smoke, and contaminated drinking water. The report states that these threats are worse for children than grown ups because their developing bodies are more susceptible to these types of contaminants. The report urges the federal government to "take broad steps to safeguard the next generation'' and take into account the special concerns of children when developing environmental policy.
The effects of childhood lead poisoning have been linked to increased grown up mortality according to a study published in the Archives of Environmental Health (November, 1997). The study examined the mortality rates of 454 individuals who experienced childhood lead-poisoning between 1923 and 1966. Eighty-six deaths were observed, of which 17 (20%) were attributed to lead poisoning. Mortality from cardiovascular disease was elevated among those in the study, and cerebrovascular deaths were particularly common among women. The study suggests that the effects of lead poisoning in childhood may persist throughout life and may have different effects on men and women.
WHERE IS IT FOUND?
Lead based paint that is not intact can be a hazard. People are exposed to lead not only through lead-paint based chips andflakes that you can see, but also through the fine lead dust that forms. This lead can get on carpets, floors, furniture, toys andother objects, as well as on the hands of children and grown ups in the home. When children put their hands, toys, or other objects in their mouths, the lead dust gets into their bodies.
Some other sources oflead:
If not detectedearly, children with high levels of lead in their bodies can suffer from:
Lead is also harmful to grown ups. Grown ups can suffer from:
WHERE LEAD IS LIKELY TO BE A HAZARD
Lead from paint chips,which you can see, and lead dust, which you can't always see, can both be serioushazards. Lead-based paint that is in good condition is usually not a hazard. Peeling,chipping, chalking, or cracking lead-based paint is a hazard and needs immediateattention. Lead-based paint may also be a hazard when found on surfaces that childrencan chew or that get a lot of wear-and-tear. These areas include: Windows and windowsills. Doors and door frames. Stairs, railings, and banisters. Porches and fences. Leaddust can form when lead-based paint is dry scraped, dry sanded, or heated. Dust alsoforms when painted surfaces bump or rub together. Lead chips and dust can get onsurfaces and objects that people touch. Settled lead dust can reenter the air whenpeople vacuum, sweep, or walk through it. Lead in soil can be a hazard when childrenplay in bare soil or when people bring soil into the house on their shoes. Call your stateagency to find out about soil testing for lead.
WHAT YOU CAN DO NOW TO PROTECT YOUR FAMILY
If you suspectthat your house has lead hazards, you can take some immediate steps to reduce yourfamily's risk:
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