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New Rule Seeks to Protect Kids From Lead Paint
Date:3/31/2008

It establishes procedures to reduce lead dust during renovations

MONDAY, March 31 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. government has issued new rules designed to protect children from exposure to lead-based paint during repairs and renovations to homes and buildings.

Starting in 2010, construction workers must follow "lead-safe work practice standards" that are designed to reduce potential exposure to dangerous levels of lead while renovating houses, child-care facilities and schools built before 1978, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said Monday.

"We are serious about eliminating childhood lead poisoning," James Gulliford, the EPA's assistant administrator for Prevention, Pesticides and Toxic Substances, said during a Monday teleconference. "Exposure to lead-contaminated dust is the most common way children get lead poisoning," he added.

Exposure to lead, especially for children under 6 years of age, can affect the child's developing nervous system and cause developmental and learning problems. Young children are particularly vulnerable, because they are likely to ingest lead by putting paint chips in their mouth.

Under the "Lead: Renovation, Repair and Painting Program," which takes effect in April 2010, any work practice that creates lead hazards must be changed to eliminate the risk of exposure to lead dust. The new rule is expected to cost contractors about $35 a job, Gulliford said.

The program covers rental housing and non-rental housing where children under age 6 and pregnant mothers are living. The rule applies to renovations, repair or painting where more than 6 square feet of lead-based paint is disturbed in a room, or where 20 square feet of lead-based paint is disturbed on the exterior.

The rule won't kick in for two years, because the EPA expects it to take that long to develop training programs, train workers and get the states up to speed to implement the new require
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