WHAT IS THE LEAD SAFE TAHOE PROGRAM?
Lead Safe Tahoe is a program funded by the federal government to reduce lead hazards in homes where children live or regularly visit.
The City’s grant will cover the cost to:
* Test for lead paint hazards
* Construction to control lead paint hazards that may be identified
* The cost to have children’s blood lead level tested.
The best part is the program is available to eligible individuals and families whether they rent or own their home. And the program is provided at NO COST to homeowners or tenants.
What are the requirements?
* The residence is within the City of South Lake Tahoe limits and was built before 1978.
* Children under age 6 must reside in or frequently visit the home – 60 hours per year
* Meet the low income eligibility requirements set by the HUD/Housing and Urban Development Department.
Where are lead-based hazards found?
* Homes, apartments, public buildings and day care centers built before 1978 often have lead-based paint hazards.
Who is at risk?
* Lead is highly toxic and can harm everyone, but it’s even more dangerous to children under the age of 6. Kids under 6 are at greatest risk, because their brains and nervous systems are more sensitive to the damaging effects of lead.
* Pregnant women and women of child-bearing age are also at increased risk, because lead ingested by the mother can cross the placenta and affect the unborn fetus.
* Unborn babies
* Other adults – even low levels of exposure can cause high blood pressure and hypertension, fertility problems, digestive problems, nerve disorders, memory and concentration problems, muscle and joint pain
Lead-based paint is the leading cause of exposure to lead in the home.
Are there symptoms?
You can’t tell if a child is lead poisoned just by looking. Sometimes there are no symptoms. The best way is to get a blood test from their pediatrician. It’s quick and simple. Many people mistake the symptoms of lead poisoning for other common illnesses like a cold or flu.
Kids may develop behavior and learning problems, such as hyperactivity, slowed growth, hearing problems, speech and language problems, poor muscle coordination and aggressive patterns of behavior. It can also cause nervous system and kidney damage, as well as decreased muscle and bone growth.
In more rare instances, high levels of lead can cause severe mental disabilities, convulsions, coma or even death.
How does the poisoning occur?
Most children are poisoned by invisible lead dust that is released when paint is peeling, flaking, chipping, or chalking.
The dust settles on floors and other surfaces. From there it can easily get on children’s hands or toys and into their mouths. Lead-based paint dust can also be on interior surfaces such as window sills, walls or doors.
How do children get lead poisoning from lead in paint, dust and dirt?
* By chewing and sucking on things with lead dust on them, like their hands and toys
* By chewing and sucking on painted surfaces, like window sills
* By breathing in lead dust
* By eating paint chips, dirt or mud that contains lead based paint dust
Lead dust is heavier than environmental dust. It’s also sticky and may taste sweet to children and pets. Frequent and thorough cleaning of high risk areas like floors, entryways, and windows is necessary to reduce lead hazards.
Dust can form when lead-based paint is scraped, sanded or heated. Dust also forms when painted surfaces bump or rub together, such as when windows and doors are opened and closed.
Children may also be poisoned by playing in bare soil which can contain lead from paint that has peeled or chipped from outside walls.
Lead dust may not be visible, but may be present in your home or in the dirt surrounding play areas.
Lead enters the body through the mouth or nose. Kids are known for putting their hands and toys in their mouths, so they ingest it during play or during every day activities. It is not absorbed through the skin.
FACTS ABOUT LEAD BASED PAINT & EXPOSURE:
An estimated 38 million homes in the U.S. contain lead-based paint.
When paint remains intact or encased behind paneling or siding, it does not present an immediate hazard. However, when lead-based paint begins to deteriorate, it’s a serious health risk.
Lead poisoning is a very serious environment hazard threatening children throughout the United States, affecting an estimated 310,000 to 440,000 children under the age of 6.
Today at least 4 million households have children living in them that are being exposed to lead. There are approximately half a million U.S. children ages 1-5 with blood lead levels above 5 micrograms per deciliter (µg/dL), the reference level at which CDC recommends public health actions be initiated. Lead exposure can affect nearly every system in the body. Because lead exposure often occurs with no obvious symptoms, it frequently goes unrecognized.
For more information about the Lead Safe Tahoe Program please visit http://www.cityofslt.us/index.aspx?NID=521