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The Scoop


Verbatim: Parents warned of lead paint dangers

Statement issued Monday:

INDIANAPOLIS—Lead poisoning is a silent menace that often does not manifest itself until the damage is done. The disease can permanently and irreversibly damage the developing brains and other organs of young children. Serious effects can include lowered intelligence, behavior disorder, and slowed physical development. Once poisoned, a young child’s chances for academic, social and occupational success are significantly diminished.

According to David McCormick, director of the Indiana Lead and Healthy Homes Program at the Indiana State Department of Health, deteriorated lead-based paint in the child’s home environment is the primary source of lead poisoning.

“Young children, who are most vulnerable to the affects of lead poisoning, pick up lead dust from the floor and ingest it through hand to mouth activity,” said McCormick. “In recent years other sources of lead poisoning have come to light. Still, any child living in a house built prior to 1978 is at the greatest risk of lead poisoning. The older the home the more likely there is lead paint.”

McCormick recommends children living in pre-1978 housing should be tested for lead poisoning.

Residential lead paint was removed from the market in 1978 so any home built before then has a good chance of containing lead-based paint. Blood lead tests are available through primary medical providers, health clinics and local health departments. For more information, call 1-800-433-0746.

“Have the paint in your house tested so that you know if you are dealing with lead-based paint, or assume that all paint is lead-based paint and use lead-safe work practices,” said McCormick. “Paint should only be tested by a licensed individual. A listing of licensed inspectors can be found on the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency’s Website at:

McCormick says work on a property to remediate lead paint hazards must be carried out using lead safe work practices. These practices are designed to prevent further lead hazards resulting from the work itself. Following are a few examples of the techniques that are recommended to prevent further contamination from lead:

Use wet methods to scrape and sand by misting surfaces before scraping and sanding. Continue to mist while working. Dry scraping or sanding may only be done in very small areas near electrical outlets and light switches and if flat surfaces below these areas are covered with protective sheeting.

Mist before drilling and cutting to reduce dust creation and keep dust from becoming airborne and spreading beyond the work area. As an alternative to using wet methods when working with electrical tools, consider the use of foam (such as shaving cream) when cutting or drilling to reduce dust generation.

If power tools that sand or grind are used, equip them with a HEPA vacuum attachment. Sanders and grinders will release large quantities of dangerous lead dust if not controlled by the use of the HEPA vacuum exhaust equipment.

Abrasive blasting or sandblasting should be avoided without the proper HEPA exhaust equipment.

For more information on lead-safe work practices, visit the Indiana State Department of Health Website at: or call 317-233-1250.

On April 22, 2010, the new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Renovation, Remodeling and Painting (RRP) Rule went into effect. This rule states that any work on target housing and/or a child occupied facility that would disturb more than six square feet on the interior and 20 square feet on the exterior must be done by an EPA-certified renovator. A contractor that is a certified renovator should be able to provide documentation that they have had the required training. Excellent resource for homeowners and tenants is available on the EPA Website at:

Target housing is defined as a home built before 1978 and a child occupied facility is defined as a building, or portion of a building, constructed prior to 1978, visited regularly by the same child, under 6 years of age, on at least two different days within any week (Sunday through Saturday) provided that each day’s visit lasts at least three hours and the combined weekly visits last at least six hours and the combined annual visits last at least 60 hours.

The mission of the Indiana Lead and Healthy Homes Program is to eliminate lead poisoning as a public health problem in Indiana. This is being accomplished through screening for lead-poisoned children, treatment and of children who are lead poisoned, follow-up case management, and the remediation of the environmental causes of the disease.

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