By Matthew Garamella
Yesterday morning was a typical morning — I woke up and rolled myself out of bed to get ready for the day. However, this time I noticed a small patch of paint chipping from the ceiling of my room. Normally I would think nothing of this minor inconvenience, but that chipping paint reminded me of the lead hazards I learned from my summer internship at EPA. I knew my room was painted well after 1978 (when lead in paint was banned nationwide), but that didn’t stop me from thinking: what if this is lead paint, and what are the long term impacts if I just ignore it?
Millions of people around the world are threatened by lead exposure, but many do not know how serious it is or how to recognize and take steps to prevent lead hazards especially for kids. Lead exposure is toxic to all people but has a defining effect on children under the age of 6. It can cause learning disabilities and lower IQ. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that there is no safe blood lead level for children.
If you own a home built before 1978, there is a likelihood that it contains lead-based paint. The safest way to determine if lead is present in your home is to hire someone who is trained and certified by EPA or has an equivalent state certification. I have taken the necessary precautions to protect my home but I worry that there are many people who have not been properly educated on the health concerns that lead poisoning causes.
If you are interested in learning about preventing lead hazards and what you can do to help raise awareness, join us at 2 pm EST, October 28 for a twitter chat. EPA’s experts will be joined by CDC and HUD to answer your questions. Join the conversation: follow the #LeadChat2015 hashtag @EPAlive, @CDCEnvironment, and @HUDgov during the chat. We look forward to talking with you.
About the author: Matthew Garamella was a summer 2015 intern at the EPA in the Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics, Program Assessment and Outreach Branch. Matthew is currently in his junior year at Boston University studying Environmental Analysis & Policy and International Relations.