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Lead-Paint FAQ's

What is Lead Poisoning?

Lead is a powerful neurotoxin that interferes with the development and functioning of almost all body organs, particularly the kidneys, red blood cells, and central nervous system. In young children, lead retards the development of the central nervous system and brain.

High levels of lead exposure can result in coma, convulsions, and death. At low levels, lead can cause reduced IQ, reading and learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder and behavioral problems. As a result, childhood lead poisoning is associated with lower educational achievement, higher rates of high school drop-out and increased behavioral problems. In the long run, children who are lead poisoned may be less likely to become positive contributors to our communities and our economy.

What causes Lead Poisoning?

In Children -- Childhood lead poisoning is the number one environmental health risk for children today. In the United States, more than three million children age six and younger -- that's one out of six -- already have toxic levels of lead in their bodies.

Lead interferes with the development and functioning of almost all body organs and retards the development of the central nervous system and brain. Lead is sometimes called, "brain poison."

Even tiny amounts of lead can cause reduced IQ, reading and learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder and behavioral problems. As a result, lead poisoning is associated with lower educational achievement, higher school drop-out rates, and increased delinquency. It is estimated that lead poisoning has tripled the number of children needing special education.

80% of childhood lead poisoning occurs at home. Many homeowners are not aware of the hazards associated with lead-based paint and unknowingly poison their own children by not following safe work practices during renovation or by not attending to deteriorating and/or chipping paint.

While it is true that many kids get poisoned by eating paint chips -- they taste sweet -- most children are poisoned by invisible lead dust created when lead paint deteriorates from age, is exposed to the elements, is damaged by water, is exposed to friction (such as the opening and closing of a door or window), or during home renovation.

In Adults -- Most adults are poisoned at work. There are laws that seek to prevent this, but many are not yet widely enforced. Any employee who may be exposed to lead in any amount should have personal air sampling done.

How big is the problem?

According to the Centers for Disease Control, childhood lead poisoning is the number one environmental health risk facing children in industrialized countries today. In the United States, more than three million children age six and younger-- that's one out of every six children -- already have toxic levels of lead in their bodies.

What do I have to do to comply with the Federal disclosure laws?

Each time a home or apartment built before 1978 (the year lead was banned in residential paint) is sold or rented, owners are required to give sellers or renters a copy of the EPA pamphlet Protect Your Family From Lead in Your Home and disclose any known lead or lead hazards on the property. The pamphlet is free and can be ordered by calling 1-800-LEAD-FYI. Mobile homes are included.



 





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