Provided by: United Counseling Service Facilities Department
Anyone who lives in a home, apartment building, or utilizes a child care facility or school that was built pre 1978 needs to be concerned with lead-based paint and the practices that are used when working with materials that are coated with such paint.
Lead poisoning is very serious as there is no medical treatment, except in severe cases. Children exposed to lead can show evidence of damage to the brain as well as developing nervous systems. Lead is also dangerous to adults where in even low levels it can cause high blood pressure. Pregnant women who are exposed to lead can transfer the lead to their fetuses.
Lead was used extensively in paint that exists in approximately 75% of the housing in Vermont that was built before 1978. Lead-based paint that is deteriorated or on a friction or impact surface produces dust that collects on window sills, floors, toys, etc.
United Counseling Services’ Facilities and Safety Division is responsible for a large scope of duties pertaining to the maintenance of our facilities throughout Bennington County. One significant piece of our operations is to follow safe work practices when working in and around areas that contain lead-based paint.
If you own or rent a home that was built prior to 1978, you should know that there are laws that protect you and your family from lead exposure. If you rent a home, your landlord is required by Vermont’s Lead Law to perform essential maintenance practices annually. This practice requires a visual inspection of all interior and exterior surfaces. Any deteriorated paint that exceeds a set measurement is then safely stabilized or removed within thirty days of the inspection or notification by a tenant. Inserts are installed in window wells as required and you will receive a written notice regarding the importance of reporting deteriorating paint promptly. This practice is also required for child care facilities and schools constructed before 1978.
It is also important for you to know that contractors are required to be trained and licensed to work in a safe manner when disturbing lead paint. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued this rule to protect people from lead dust and chips that can be created when disturbing lead paint during renovation, repairs, and painting (RRP). This rule applies to all homes, child care centers, and schools that were built before 1978.
UCS conducts annual Essential Maintenance Practices (EMP) on our affected rental properties, and early childhood centers. We have several staff within our Facilities and Safety Division who are certified by the Vermont Department of Health on Essential Maintenance Practices. These practices reduce the hazards of lead paint poisoning. The Facilities and Safety staff have also recently become Certified Renovators through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and UCS has become a Lead Safe Certified Firm through the EPA.
*To help reduce the risk of lead exposure you can take precaution and follow these simple steps:
- Evaluate your home for lead hazards.
- Remodel and renovate safety. Never sand lead paint since lead dust is much more dangerous than lead paint.
- Do not remove lead-based paint yourself. Hire a licensed contractor.
- Keep areas where children play as dust-free and clean as possible.
- If you are a tenant, review lead-based paint hazards in information provided by your landlord.
- Eat a healthy diet that includes iron, calcium and foods low in fat. This causes the body to absorb less lead.
- Practice good maintenance to keep old lead-based paint intact.
Please read more information on lead paint, visit : www.leadsafevermont.org
*Taken from leadsafevermont.org – Reducing Lead Exposure