Asbestos and lead-based paint aren’t devils of the past.
They can still be found, and they can cause fatal health problems.
Despite cleanup efforts, there is still enough asbestos and lead-based paint to last for generations. While not dangerous if remained undisturbed, if not maintained properly, they can deteriorate and become a serious health hazard to both adults and children. Many homeowners or businesses can’t afford lead-based paint or asbestos abatement. It can cost thousands of dollars depending on the size of the project. Fortunately, if lead-based paint is covered with non-lead paint, you can safely live in the home. The same goes for asbestos if it is encapsulated. But these are temporary fixes if not maintained. Some states have housing programs that can help residents remove health hazards from their homes.
Not only is there an immense amount of asbestos and lead that exist from previous use, but the use of these products today has not been entirely banned.
The manufacture, importation, processing and distribution in commerce of these asbestos-containing products are not banned:
The Superfund Redevelopment Initiative works with communities to provide site-specific support to help them reclaim thousands of acres of formerly contaminated land. This allows vacant land to be cleaned up and reused for other purposes such as parks, business districts, renewable energy facilities, neighborhoods, wildlife habitats, and farms. In turn, it provides job opportunities, strengthening the community’s economy. The local Superfund site is Hagerstown’s Central Chemical Superfund Redevelopment Initiative Pilot Project.
However, lead has become a common environmental contaminant at Superfund sites across the country because it is a naturally occurring element. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) conducts site-by-site lead risk assessments to determine potential health risks for workers and the surrounding community. Superfund’s risk managers use the risk assessment information to select the best cleanup strategies.
Superfund sites use a risk assessment paradigm. This diagram (below) represents the components of ecological and human health risk assessments.
Federal law requires owners, landlords, agents, and managers of rental properties to provide certain information about lead paint to a prospective renter.
For buildings built before 1978, the information includes:
- An EPA-approved information pamphlet on identifying and controlling lead-based paint hazards.
- Any known information concerning lead-based paint or lead-based paint hazards pertaining to the building.
- For multi-unit buildings, this requirement includes records and reports concerning common areas and other units when such information was obtained because of a building-wide evaluation.
- A lead disclosure attachment to the lease, or language inserted in the lease, that includes a “Lead Warning Statement” and confirms that you have complied with all notification requirements.
If your building needs renovations and contains Lead, federal law requires that:
- If you or someone on your staff is performing the work your firm must be Lead-Safe Certified and your staff trained in lead-safe work practices.
- The firm performing the work must be Lead-Safe certified.
These work practices include:
- Containing the work area.
- Avoiding renovation methods that generate large amounts of lead-contaminated dust.
- Cleaning up thoroughly.
Not following this law could mean tens of thousands of dollars in fines or a lawsuit.
For Lead paint testing or removal, call Baxter Group, Inc. at 717-263-7341 or visit the Lead Department.
Facilities managers should regularly inspect for lead hazards.
Although a home may be free of lead-based paint hazards, a child could still be exposed elsewhere.
Here is a list of places to look:
- Interior and exterior painted areas – Examine walls and surfaces to see if the paint is cracking, chipping, or peeling, and check areas on doors or windows where painted surfaces may rub together. The paint can flake off and contaminate nearby soil where children play.
- Surrounding areas – Be sure there are no large structures nearby with peeling or flaking paint.
- Playground equipment, toys and furniture – Older equipment can contain lead-based paint.
- Cleaning practices – The staff should wash any pacifiers, toys, or bottles that fall on the floor.