Childhood lead poisoning is considered the most preventable environmental disease among young children, yet approximately half a million U.S. children have blood lead levels above 5 micrograms per deciliter, the reference level at which Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), recommends public health actions be initiated.
A simple blood test can prevent permanent damage that will last a lifetime. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), CDC, is committed to eliminating this burden to public health.
October 20 – 26th is National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week. During this time the CDC will strive to:
- Raise awareness about lead poisoning;
- Stress the importance of screening the highest risk children younger than 6 years of age (preferably by ages 1 and 2) if they have not been tested yet;
- Highlight partners’ efforts to prevent childhood lead poisoning; and
- Urge people to take steps to reduce lead exposure.
For more information on how you can prevent lead poisoning in your home and community visit the Lead Paint Resources page at Occupational Knowledge International.
- Lead Poisoning Prevention Week 2013: What Can You Do To Prevent Lead Paint Exposure? (medicaldaily.com)
- Raising Awareness of Lead Poisoning (voanews.com)
By Liz Szabo, http://www.usatoday.com
Pediatricians and public-health advocates are working to revive programs to protect children from lead poisoning, after what they describe as a series of devastating blows to their efforts.
Congress all but eliminated federal funding to prevent lead poisoning in 2012, cutting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s lead budget by more than 90%. There is no safe level of lead, the CDC estimates that 535,000 American kids have enough lead in their blood to put them at high risk for lead poisoning, which causes intellectual impairments and behavioral problems.
Although lead is no longer used in gasoline or paint, many children are still exposed by living in old housing with peeling paint. USA TODAY also has documented the hazards to children from shuttered lead smelting factories, which left layers of lead in backyards and playgrounds across the USA.
“It’s like they’re declaring victory in a war that has not been won,” says Jerome Paulson, a professor at the George Washington University School of Medicine, who chairs the American Academy of Pediatrics’ committee on environmental health. Read More
Reposted from http://ieconnections.com
The shutdown of the federal government that began October 1 is affecting agencies and departments that deal with indoor environmental issues.
Now that the government has run out of money due to the failure to reach a budget agreement, federal agencies must decide which employees are “essential” and which ones can be furloughed for the duration of the budget impasse.
Ninety-four percent of the employees at the Environmental Protection Agency are being furloughed. This will suspend, for the time being, the agency’s ability to enforce its rules regarding lead-based paint, which require landlords to notify prospective tenants at rental units about potential hazards and contractors to be certified with respect to their knowledge of safe practices. Individuals should, of course, remain in compliance, as the agency will certainly reopen at some point.
But the head of the union that represents EPA employees issued a statement noting that some workers will remain on duty.
“Even today, some employees will continue to assist flood ravaged communities so that they can once again have clean, safe drinking water and fully functioning bathrooms,” the letter said. “They are helping these communities put the essentials in place so that they can begin to rebuild. But they will not have the support of their colleagues in the office, because they have been sent home to wait, wait for Congress to do its job and fund the government.” Read More
- Just 6.6% of EPA employees deemed ‘essential’… (breitbart.com)
By Emma Macdonald and Tom McIlroy, http://www.canberratimes.com.au
Something quite remarkable is about to take place on an otherwise unremarkable suburban street.
Starting in the next week, an enormous plastic bubble will encase a small brick bungalow home on Bradfield Street in Downer, as the ACT government spends $2 million removing asbestos insulation from the home and 30 centimetres of topsoil from the site.
Passersby paid no particular attention to the dilapidated white house surrounded by temporary fencing on Monday, but neighbours who had learned about planned removal works in an ACT government letter said they were concerned for their safety and the work’s impact on local property prices.
A look through the fence showed air vents sealed with duct tape and plastic, a debris-filled garden and a pile of warning signs strewn outside the garage. One resident said three months of noise and traffic disruption was a small enough price to pay for improved safety and the destruction of ”an eyesore”. Read More
By Shannon Heffernan, http://www.wbez.org
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has begun cleanup of brain-damaging lead contamination on the former site of Loewenthal Metals in Pilsen.
Jerry Mead-Lucero is an organizer with Pilsen Environmental Rights and Reform Organization (PERRO). He says lead contamination of over over 400 parts per million (ppm) is a concern. On the Lowenthal site, they discovered lead levels levels as high as 23,000 ppm.
“Really we were quite shocked because that was off the charts from what we’ve seen before. And it’s very close to a school and very close to a community garden,” said Mead-Lucero.
Lead exposure is especially damaging to pregnant women and young children. PERRO says the EPA knew about the contamination of the soil as early as 2006, but they only responded after PERRO began to pressure them. Read More
- EPA contractor agrees to pay $65,450 in Omaha settlement (siouxcityjournal.com)
By Larry Graham, http://www.watoday.com.au
Governments, unions and companies were, and remain, culpable for the spread of the killer asbestos – the result of their handiwork is that over 50,000 Australians have died.
Every day in this state another person dies as a result of exposure to this terrible product. There is no safe level of exposure to it and there is no cure for the diseases it causes, but somehow we still allow the killer asbestos to remain with us.
The diseases that asbestos causes are horrible, particularly the effects of mesothelioma, which has been described to me as akin to being slowly strangled to death, or having concrete set in your lungs. The period from exposure to diagnosis can be a very long time but once diagnosed there is no cure and it is a death sentence.
Of the folklore surrounding this killer product, the one that enrages me most is that those in authority were not aware of the dangers.
There have been formal health warnings about the dangers of asbestos since the 19th century but still every day governments and companies continue to use this pathetic defence. They regularly lose their court cases because it is just not true, has never been true and they know it. Read more
By Terry Gibb, Michigan State University Extension
Spring cleaning is an annual ritual. Whether you’re cleaning, remodeling or renovating, you need to become knowledgeable about potential lead contamination and sources.
Many homes have one or more sources of lead contamination. Lead exposure can have health and environmental effects on humans and pets. Lead is a soft metal used in many products, including ceramics, printer’s ink, children’s toys, paint, solder, lead crystal, water pipes and gasoline. For many years, it was commonly used in these products. Lead can last for hundreds of years in the environment and never break down into a harmless substance.
In homes, the most common source of lead is from “paint dust” in older homes. While lead was banned in paints in 1978, 74 percent of homes built prior to 1980 may have high levels of lead paint. This is the most common source of exposure for children. They don’t eat peeling paint chips, instead they play in areas where deteriorating paint has produced paint dust. Most of this dust can be found near areas exposed to moisture, such as around doors, windows and exterior walls. If paint is intact (no chipping, peeling or chalking), then exposure is greatly reduced. Chalking that causes paint dust also comes from weathering or when surfaces rub or scrape together as in the case of door and window sills.
Do-it-yourself kits are available to test for lead. These kits will indicate the presence or absence of lead but will not indicate the amount of lead present.
Other sources of lead are contaminated soils and drinking water. While lead occurs naturally in soil, soils can become further contaminated through paint or leaded gasoline. Read More
By Susan Vento, http://www.rollcall.com
Since at least the early 1900s, the lethal risks of asbestos exposure have been known — and intentionally hidden from — American workers and their families by companies of all sorts whose bottom lines were more important than the well-being and very lives of their workers.
For many years, asbestos companies have lobbied at the state and federal levels to erode the constitutional and legal rights of those workers diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestosis and cancers caused by asbestos. Now they are lobbying Congress once again to delay and deny medical bill payments to those who are sick and dying.
The FACT Act is not about transparency at all. It requires the unbelievable disclosure on a public website of asbestos victims’ personal information, including the last four digits of their Social Security numbers, information about their finances, their children and other sensitive material that could subject them to identity theft and possible criminal mischief. The bill is completely one-sided — asbestos companies have no such “transparency” requirements. Read More
By Lauren Hunter, http://www.remodeling.hw.net
According to a recent report from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG), the EPA is losing money on its lead-based paint program. Based on the agency’s estimates since the Renovation, Repair, and Painting (RRP) rule went into effect in 2010, the total loss will amount to $16.4 million by 2014. Fiscal year 2010 actually turned a profit of $8.9 million, but costs are exceeding fee collections by $25.3 million for 2011 through 2014.
According to the report, three issues are contributing to the EPA’s unrecovered costs. The agency has not conducted recommended biennial cost reviews to ensure that fees are in line with costs, and the fee structure also does not take into account all the indirect costs needed to recover the cost of administering the lead-based paint program. More importantly, the agency notes that RRP firm participation is lower than projected. Read More
By Lindsey Burnworth, http://www.wdtv.com
Something as simple as giving your kids a diet high in iron can put them at less of a risk for lead poisoning. That’s because if your kids have enough iron in their bodies, it’ll actually fight off the lead buildup on their organs.
If you suspect your kids could have high levels of lead in their bodies, doctors suggest getting them tested because that’s the only way you’ll know for sure. Read More