Lead Exposure No Laughing Matter

By Kasia Broussalian

For good reasons, “lead” has been quite a buzzword throughout the past decade. Its adverse health effects include detrimental interferences with the nervous system, the heart, kidneys, bones and intestines. Lead poisoning is particularly harmful to children, who can suffer from developmental disorders, learning and behavioral disorders. Exposure concerns in the past few years run from light-hearted jokes to mildly concerning to alarming.

I laughed at my mother, who reminded me not to eat the paint after moving into my apartment. After the city warned of elevated lead levels found in tap water in some of the older homes of residents last year, I immediately blamed every headache I had ever had on lead intoxication. In 2000, the 18,000 New Jersey children under the age of six that were thought to carry extremely high levels of lead in their blood was, and still continues to this day, frightening.

Luckily, in April of last year, EPA introduced revisions and a strengthening of stringent rules to the RRP Law, or Renovation, Repair, and Paint Law. The law requires contractors performing renovation, repair, and painting that disturb more than six square feet of paint in homes built before 1978 must be trained and certified on correct procedures to prevent lead contamination.

Just last week, I was in Long Island City for a press event with the Fortune Society and took part in a demonstration by ANDO International on the updated procedures for correct operations when dealing with lead based paint (LBP). Though I must comment that those bright purple protection suits are quite endearing on any one, the quick testing and analysis for lead, as well as the precautions shown for contractors was very efficient. To learn more about lead and its effects, check out this link.