"Lead is especially dangerous to children," Miller said. "Lead hasn't
been used in housing paint since 1978, but it still poses a threat, especially
when lead-based paint is chipping, or when it is scraped or sanded in
a way that releases lead dust during renovations. The labels will alert
people to the danger and tell them where to get information on how to
do renovation work safely."
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says about 900,000 children
ages 1 to 5 have blood-level concentrations above the level of concern.
If not detected early, children with high levels of lead can suffer from
damage to the brain and nervous system, slowed growth, headaches, and
behavior and learning problems such as hyperactivity, according to the
EPA. Lead dust also is harmful to adults - especially pregnant women.
The paint makers will put two types of warnings on paint cans - a full
warning typically on the side of a can, and an abbreviated "sticker" warning
either printed on the top of the paint can or on a separate sticker. The
labels will give two good sources of information on how consumers can
protect themselves and their families -- by calling the Environmental
Protection Authority's Lead Information Hotline at 1-800-424-LEAD (5323),
or logging on to www.epa.gov/lead/
. The NPCA also will provide lead-protection brochures and information
in stores. *Consumers also may call the Iowa Department of Public health lead hotline
# # #
Background on the Lead Paint Agreement:
Miller said a total of 45 states plus five other jurisdictions reached
the voluntary agreement with the NPCA - whose members represent more than
95% of paint companies including the largest manufacturers. Lead poisoning
from repainting and renovation has been a safety concern of AGs.
The National Paint and Coatings Association also agreed to fund and provide
consumer education and training courses on lead-safe renovation and repainting
to homeowners, contractors, landlords and housing workers. Also under
the terms of the agreement, NPCA will develop discount programs for safety
Lead poisoning stemming from inadequate surface preparation prior to
repainting affects children from all social and economic backgrounds.
Whether repainting a rented apartment or installing a brand new kitchen,
it is imperative that families take the proper precautions.
The multi-state agreement reached with the National Paint and Coatings
Association was spearheaded by Massachusetts AG Tom Reilly and negotiated
with assistant attorneys general from California, Connecticut, Maine,
New Hampshire, New York and Oregon.
"This is a good step forward," Miller said. "As recently
as 1978, the EPA estimates there were about three or four million children
afflicted with high blood-lead levels. That's been cut to under a million,
with substantial efforts, but the EPA still considers lead poisoning to
be the number-one environmental health hazard for children. This action
by the paint manufacturers will help educate consumers and families about
the potential danger that can come with home improvement projects and
Paint manufacturers may use a uniform label or one with similar information.
The uniform label reads as follows:
WARNING! If you scrape, sand, or remove
old paint, you may release lead dust. LEAD IS TOXIC. EXPOSURE TO LEAD
DUST CAN CAUSE SERIOUS ILLNESS, SUCH AS BRAIN DAMAGE, ESPECIALLY IN CHILDREN.
PREGNANT WOMEN SHOULD ALSO AVOID EXPOSURE. Wear a NIOSH-approved respirator
to control lead exposure. Clean up carefully with a HEPA vacuum and a
wet mop. Before you start, find out how to protect yourself and your family
by contacting the National Lead Information Hotline at 1-800-424-LEAD,
or log on to www.epa.gov/lead/
The abbreviated "sticker" label, on top of the can or a special sticker,
reads as follows:
WARNING! If you scrape, sand or remove
old paint, you may release lead dust. LEAD IS TOXIC. Contact the National
Lead Information Hotline at 1-800-424-LEAD, or log on to www.epa.gov/lead.
* The Iowa Dept.
of Public Health also has a hotline for questions about blood lead testing,
lead-based paint in housing, and how to work safely with lead-based paint
when remodeling or repainting. Call the Iowa DPH lead hotline at 800-972-2026.
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