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U.S EPA awards more than $50,000 to Soboba Band of Luiseno Indians for childhood lead poisoning reduction outreach/ Grant focuses on prevention and screening

Release Date: 10/23/2008
Contact Information: Francisco Arcaute, (213) 244-1815, cell (213) 798-1404 arcaute.francisco@epa.gov

(10/23/08) LOS ANGELES – Outreach in Luiseno language and mobile lead screening for tribal children are among the goals of a $50,042 childhood lead poisoning reduction grant recently awarded to the Riverside County, Calif.-based Soboba Band of Luiseno Indians by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

“By providing information to the Soboba Band's tribal members about lead hazards, this grant will help reduce childhood lead poisoning and ensure a healthy community,” said Katherine Taylor, Associate director, Communities and Ecosystems Division, EPA Pacific Southwest Region. “The funds will be used to reach out to tribal members in many different ways—newsletters, workshops, and brochures.”

The childhood lead poisoning reduction grant goals include:
* Prepare and distribute a monthly newsletter for tribal families focusing on lead prevention, lead hazard product recalls and childhood blood lead screenings;
* Organize quarterly lead prevention preschool workshops for parents and children in Soboba tribal homes;
* Oversee quarterly mobile lead screening for tribal children at Soboba environmental facilities;
* Develop a brochure on common lead hazard prevention practices aimed at Soboba tribal members, incorporating Luiseno language and culture.

Through the tribe’s "Tribal Families in Need Program,” the two-year childhood lead poisoning reduction grant project will also assist the approximately 10,000 Native Americans residing in Riverside County.

Young children are susceptible to lead poisoning since they are more likely to ingest lead paint chips, flakes, or dust and are more sensitive to the effects of lead. Elevated blood lead levels in young children can trigger learning disabilities, decreased growth, hyperactivity, impaired hearing, and brain damage.

The use of lead-based paint in U.S. residential housing was banned in 1978. Approximately 75 percent of the U.S. housing stock built before 1978, or 64 million homes, contain some lead-based paint.

For information on EPA’s lead paint program, please visit: http://www.epa.gov/region09/toxic/lead/

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