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EPA Funds Grant to Combat Childhood Lead Poisoning In D.C.

Guest Donna Heron

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Guest Donna Heron

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s mid-Atlantic region has awarded a $100,000 grant to George Washington University’s Mid-Atlantic Center for Children’s Health and the Environment (MACCHE) to work to reduce lead poisoning in the District of Columbia.


High blood levels of lead can cause permanent damage to the nervous system and widespread health problems, such as a reduced intelligence and attention span, hearing loss, stunted growth, reading and learning problems and behavioral difficulties. Young children, in particular, are most vulnerable because their nervous systems are still developing.


MACCHE will introduce an innovative holistic home visit program to the District using a modified pediatric environmental home assessment tool consisting of two components: 1) a survey to identify potential hazards, and 2) the action plan to address the lead hazards.


The goal is not to duplicate existing efforts, but to collaborate with community organizations to combine existing resources, knowledge and tools that will produce lead-free homes for District residents.


MACCHE will schedule home visits at properties where children have been exposed and poisoned by lead. Because the majority of the targeted residents may not be the property owners, MACCHE will also design an educational outreach package for property owners. The grant will also provide funding to train five workers to educate property owners on maintaining an environmentally-safe home for their tenants.


At the conclusion of this project, MACCHE will have a DC-specific home visit tool that can be utilized by several organizations in the District.


EPA’s Targeted Lead Grant Program funds projects in areas with high incidences of children with elevated blood-lead levels in vulnerable populations. In 2007, the agency awarded more than $5 million in grants under this program.


EPA’s lead program is playing a major role in meeting the federal goal of eliminating childhood lead poisoning as a major public health concern by 2010, and the projects supported by these grant funds are an important part of this ongoing effort.


For more information about EPA’s lead program, visit www.epa.gov/lead or call the National Lead Information Center at 1-800-424-LEAD.

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