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DHSS Press Release

Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Pager 302-357-7498
Email: jill.fredel@delaware.gov

Date: April 8, 2014



(DOVER - April 8, 2014) Delaware is the first state in the Mid-Atlantic Region authorized to provide a program that helps prevent lead poisoning in young children by requiring the use of lead-safe renovation practices in residences built prior to 1978. Routine repairs and renovations of older homes and child-occupied facilities are a major source of lead exposure for children. Nearly 50 percent of homes in Delaware were built prior to 1978, the year that lead-based paint was banned for residential use.

Dr. Karyl Rattay, director of Delaware's Division of Public Health (DPH), announced that as of March 14, 2014, Delaware is authorized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to administer and enforce the lead Renovation, Repair and Painting Program, previously administered by the federal government. Renovation firms and employees that disturb more than six square feet of painted surfaces in interiors, and 20 square feet for exteriors must be trained by an accredited training provider and licensed by the DPH.

"We wanted to take action to prevent lead exposure in children, rather than react when a lead-poisoned child is identified," said Dr. Rattay. "Requiring renovators, property managers, electricians, plumbers and builders to use lead-safe work practices is a proven formula for reducing lead poisoning in children and workers."

Lead poisoning is a preventable disease that can cause learning disabilities, behavioral problems, and permanent brain damage in young children. Even low lead levels in blood have been shown to have adverse effects. Many renovation and remodeling work practices, such as sanding, scraping and demolition, can create hazardous lead dust, a common way that lead gets into the body.

The individuals and firms that must be trained and licensed under the Renovation, Repair and Painting Program are important partners in preventing childhood lead exposure, and educating families about the dangers of lead-based paint. Home owners, tenants and child care facilities should ask to see a firm's Renovation, Repair and Painting certification before signing contracts.

Prior to beginning renovation activities, contractors, property managers, and others must distribute the EPA lead pamphlet "Renovate Right: Important Lead Hazard Information for Families, Child Care Providers and Schools" to both owners and occupants. This is available at the DPH website at www.LeadSafe Delaware.org or at the EPA website, http://www2.epa.gov/lead/documents-and-outreach-materials.

Renovation, Repair and Painting Program training providers must be approved by the Delaware Department of Education, and apply to DPH for certification prior to conducting any training classes. To smooth the transition from the federal to the state level, firms, renovators and training providers certified by the EPA as of March 14, 2014 will not need to apply for Delaware certification until their current EPA certifications expire.

Information about the Renovation, Repair and Painting Program and lead poisoning prevention is available online at http://LeadSafeDelaware.com.

DPH, a division of DHSS, urges Delawareans to make healthier choices with the 5-2-1 Almost None campaign: eat 5 or more fruits and vegetables each day, have no more than 2 hours of recreational screen time each day (includes TV, computer, gaming), get 1 or more hours of physical activity each day, drink almost no sugary beverages.

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.