Saturday, January 10, 2009

Keeping Your Family Safe Program - Talks about Lead Paint

Happy New Year everyone. On Monday, January 5, 2009 I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Eileen Franko, the Director of the Bureau of Occupational Health within the New York State Department of Health on my radio program "Keeping Your Family Safe." The interview was on lead paint hazards and we discussed the use of lead in paint, the health effects, the laws and regulations, and proper procedures for working with lead paint hazards.
During our interview Dr. Franko and I discussed:

  • In 1978, the Consumer Product Safety Commission reduced the amount of allowable lead in homeowner, interior, exterior, furniture, and toy paints and varnishes to less than 0.06%.
  • However, prior to 1978 paints and varnishes had lead added to them while paints and varnishes prior to 1950s could be up to 50% lead.
  • Intact lead paint is not a hazard.
  • Any activity that generates particles, dust, or debris can cause lead exposure.
  • Lead exposure typically happens by ingesting (through contaminating food or drinks, and hand to mouth exposure primarily for children) or inhalation (breathing in the dust or particles).
  • Lead exposure health effects for children include brain damage,nerve damage, reduced intelligence (IQ), learning problems, hearing problems, behavorial issues, and death. 2002 was the last death of a child from lead poisoning.
  • Lead exposure health effects foradults include infertility, high blood pressure, teratogen effects, and lead can cross the placenta causing poisoning of the unborn child.
  • Any blood lead is too much lead and the only way to determine the amount of lead in the body is through a blood test. Over 10 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood is considered elevated for kids and adults. For workers working with lead the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has a construction industry standard of 50 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood.
  • The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), OSHA, and Housing and Urban Development (HUD) have regulations on handling lead based coatings.
  • Before performing work on buildings built prior to 1978, owners, occupants, and tenants should consider lead paint. Those considerations should include:
    - minimizing dust utilizing wet methods and practices to limit the creation of dust.
    - dust collection with vacuums with HEPA filtering.
    - the use of protective equipment such as respirators with HEPA filters, disposable suits and gloves.
    - use plastic to protect areas where dust is unwanted or to limit dust into areas where work is being performed.
    - remove furniture and other items to limit what is contaminated with lead dust.

Our next program will be Monday, February 12, 2009 at 2 PM eastern time. We will be interviewing Mrs. Linda Reinstein, the Executive Director of the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization, discussing the asbestos hazard. We hope you will join us.

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