EPA Increases Requirements to Protect Public From Lead Exposure Just in Time for Earth Day- By: Greg Eckler
As previously announced in the summer of 2009, the US Environmental Protection Agency will be putting into place some stronger guidelines to boost up the requirements that it had previously issued in 2008 to protect the more sensitive members of society, our children. The changes to the Environmental Protection Agencyís guidelines will fittingly come into effect April 22, 2010 which is also the environmental Global Day of Action taking place across the world as a part of the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day events that will be taking place in the month of April. The heightened requirements will build upon regulations that have been helping to protect the public from lead paint exposure in homes and public buildings.
The new requirements will go farther to create a safe environment in any area where renovations are being done in buildings with lead-based paint which is common in buildings erected before 1978. Included in the new requirements will be guidelines for safety procedures in work practices and protective gear requirements. Also required will be more extensive testing for lead residue to ensure that any renovation projects havenít inadvertently increased the levels of lead particulate in the building.
Children are particularly sensitive to lead in their environment because they are still developing and lead disrupts the ability of neurons to talk to the cells around them by way of blocking certain neurotransmitters. This is also why lead is so detrimental to pregnant women; lead crosses the placental barrier and compromises the developing fetusís formation.
Symptoms of damage caused to the body by lead poisoning are varied; differences in levels and lengths of exposure tend to manifest in varying ways depending on the individual. Symptoms may include neurological problems such as headache and memory loss, organ problems such as kidney failure, abdominal pain, and reproductive issues, as well as the more general problems of appetite loss, drowsiness, clumsiness, irritability, learning issues, depression, personality changes, and behavior problems. Children or adults who have lead toxicity will also often find that they have a persistent metallic taste in their mouth.
Hopefully these new requirements will help the building and renovation industry deal with the menace of lead paint in a safer manner. Because lead toxicity can come from a variety of vectors, not just ingestion; the more prevention that we can have in place, the fewer cases of lead poisoning will potentially occur.
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