Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Preventing Lead Exposure in Children

In line with National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week October 19-25, the NCHH (National Center for Healthy Housing) released a report that outlines the outcomes and recommendations it has for the lead poisoning prevention strategies. In 2013, the NCHH met with prominent advocates in the fields of health, affordable housing, and education in order to create a blueprint which will serve as the ultimate agenda for preventing lead poisoning in children. The report outlines the outcomes the NCHH hopes to achieve with the assistance of various levels of government and the private sector.

The health sector of this panel advocated the following outcomes:
  • Lead sources are identified and controlled before a child is exposed. 
  • Neighborhoods at greatest risk are identified to target resources and action. 
  • Children with elevated blood lead level test results receive home-based services to prevent further exposure. 
The housing sector hopes to achieve the following outcomes:
  • Make 11.5 million homes lead-safe. 
  • No home that has poisoned a child poisons again.
And finally the education aspect of the report intends to have:
  • Key education leaders, elected officials, the business community, and the voting public understand the educational benefits of preventing childhood lead poisoning. 
  • All children who have been exposed to lead have undeniable access to assessment and intervention services to improve their ability to learn.

Click here to read the full NCHH report and learn about the strategies outlined for the prevention of lead poisoning in children.

EPA News Release: EPA acts to protect children from lead-based paint hazards in eight Northern Calif. communities

Release Date: 10/22/2014
Contact Information: Suzanne Skadowski, 415-972-3165, skadowski.suzanne@epa.gov

Untrained and uncertified companies renovating homes and schools can put children at risk

SAN FRANCISCO – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced settlements with construction companies in Calif. that were not EPA-certified to handle lead-based paint safely before or during renovations in older housing and schools. The lead-based paint Renovation, Repair and Painting rule requires companies to be properly trained and certified before working in pre-1978 homes and schools. The rule is designed to prevent children from coming into contact with hazardous lead dust.

“More than half a million children in America have blood lead levels high enough to cause learning disabilities and behavior problems,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “Lead-based paint remains in tens of millions of homes and is the main source of lead exposure for children, so contractors have to be trained and certified to ensure renovations are done safely.”

EPA recently settled with the following nine companies for failing to be certified before advertising, bidding on, or performing renovation and repair projects in older housing and schools. Each company was ordered to pay a $1,000 civil penalty and, in most cases, required to complete training and obtain certification:

-- A & D Construction Inc., Hayward
-- AB Builders, Pleasant Hill
-- CF Contracting, Fairfax
-- Cogent Construction & Consulting Inc., San Francisco
-- EF Brett & Company Inc., San Francisco
-- Nema Construction, Albany
-- Regency Construction Company Inc., Carmel Valley
-- Southland Construction Management Inc., Pleasanton
-- Welliver Construction, Eureka

EPA enforces the federal Toxic Substances Control Act and its Renovation, Repair, and Painting rule to protect children from exposure to lead-based paint hazards from renovation and repair activities that can create hazardous lead dust when surfaces with lead-based paint are disturbed. Contractors who disturb painted surfaces in pre-1978 homes and child-occupied facilities must be trained and certified, provide educational materials to residents, and follow safe work practices. The U.S. banned lead-based paint from housing in 1978 but EPA estimates that more than 37 million older homes in the U. S. still have lead-based paint.

Nationwide, more than 100,000 contractors have completed the process to become certified. A single day of training is required to learn about the lead-safe work practices, but many companies continue to operate without training or certification and without regard for the potential harm to children. EPA continues to pursue enforcement against companies that are not certified and uses information from the public to help identify violators.

Lead exposure is more dangerous to children than adults because children’s growing bodies absorb more lead, and their brain and nervous systems are more sensitive to the damaging effects of lead, which include: behavior and learning problems, slowed growth, hearing problems, and damage to the brain and nervous system. Children under six years old are at most risk. Currently, no level of lead in blood has been identified as safe for children.

Become an EPA Lead-Safe Certified Contractor - Attend the 1-day workshop at a training location near you! Visit https://www.greenedu.com/epa-lead-rrp-overview or call 646-564-3546 for more information and our training schedule.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

PEER to Lead the Way in Power System Performance

What is PEER™?

PEER™ is the Performance Excellence in Electricity Renewal™ program is the driving force behind the vision to transform the way power systems are regulated, designed and operated. The program is modeled after LEED (Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design) program for buildings, and the first comprehensive system for evaluating power system performance.

The PEER™ System provides a rating system of power performance measurable across four outcome categories:
  • Enabling Customer Action - addresses customer care services, protection, participation, and incentives
  • Operational Efficiency - addresses electricity costs, microgrid contribution, general operational expenses, and indirect costs
  • Reliability, Power Quality and Safety - addresses power quality, supply availability, sustained and momentary interruptions, and safety
  • Energy Efficiency and Environment - addresses energy efficiency, air emissions, resource use, and renewable energy credits
In addition, the PEER™ program provides performance metrics and design criteria based on issues that matter most to customers including:
  • Eliminating interruptions and improving safety and power quality; 
  • Being cost-competitive with greater transparency; 
  • Increasing system efficiency and significantly reducing environmental impacts; and 
  • Enabling and encouraging consumer and community participation.
The idea behind the program is to advance the efficiency of the electricity system. The program empowers building owners and power providers to configure and operate their systems to maximum effectiveness. PEER™ is an addition to the number of certification programs and credentials supervised by the GBCI.

The first projects using the PEER™ rating system will be presented at the Green Build Expo taking place in New Orleans, LA from October 22-24.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week

National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week is October 19-25, 2014.

Classically, "lead poisoning" or "lead intoxication" has been defined as exposure to high levels of lead typically associated with severe health effects. Exposure to lead can include contaminated air, water, soil, food, and other consumer products. The amount of lead in the blood and tissues, as well as the time course of exposure, determine toxicity. Children especially are more at risk for lead poisoning because their small bodies are in a continuous state of growth and development. For this reason, children absorb lead more quickly than do adults which causes greater physical harm. Children affected by lead poisoning face symptoms of physical pain and discomfort, behavioral problems, as well as learning disabilities.

http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/nlppw.htm
This theme of this year's National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week is "Lead-Free Kids for a Healthy Future."

Today, childhood lead poisoning is considered the most preventable environmental disease among young children, yet hundreds of thousands of children living in the United States have elevated blood lead levels that may cause significant damage to their health. They can develop behavior and learning problems such as hyperactivity, slowed growth, hearing problems, and aggressive patterns of behavior. Stopping a child’s exposure to lead from leaded paint, house dust, or any other source is the best way to prevent the harmful effects of lead.  The CDC is committed to eliminating this burden to public health. Homes built before 1978 should be tested for lead paint especially if there are young children living in these homes.

The CDC suggests parents take certain precautions to help prevent lead poisoning in children, such as:

  • Test your home for lead paint
  • Children or pregnant women should not be present during a renovation of a pre-1978 home
  • Make sure your child does not have access to peeling paint or chewable surfaces painted with lead-based paint
  • Regularly clean floors and windows with a wet cloth to remove household dust
  • Regularly wash children’s hands and toys
  • Avoid using traditional folk medicine and cosmetics that may contain lead
  • Avoid giving the child candies imported from Mexico
  • Check to make sure you dishes and storage containers are labeled lead-free
  • Remove recalled toys and toy jewelry immediately from children

National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week 
  • Testing your home, testing your child, and learning how to prevent lead poisoning’s serious health effects are the ultimate goals of National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week.
  • Throughout this week, there will be events held across the country including Lead Screening Clinics, Lead Safety talks, as well as many others. More information about these events and their locations can be found on World Health Organization's website.

Interested in learning how to safely renovate a home that might have lead paint? Become a Certified Lead Renovator. Learn more at https://www.greenedu.com/epa-lead-rrp-overview