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U.S. EPA awards grants for tribal lead poisoning prevention efforts

Release Date: 10/19/2007
Contact Information: Marc Mowrey, (415) 972-3324

SAN FRANCISCO - In conjunction with National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week and Children’s Health Month, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently awarded grants to the Big Valley Band of Pomo Indians (Big Valley Rancheria) and the Fallon Paiute-Shoshone Tribe to reduce childhood lead poisoning.

The awards are part of a national EPA program that includes $970,000 of grant funds in 2007 for federally-recognized tribes to eliminate childhood lead poisoning as a health threat in the United States by 2010. National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week is Oct. 21 – 27.

"Childhood lead poisoning is entirely preventable," said Nate Lau, associate director of the Communities and Ecosystems Division in the EPA's Pacific Southwest region. “These grants will help the two tribes inform their residents about potential health hazards from lead, especially risks to young children.”

Young children are particularly 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 Big Valley Rancheria in California will use its $73,497 EPA grant to conduct outreach and raise awareness about lead poisoning among tribal residents. The project aims to reduce childhood lead poisoning and ensure a healthy community by providing information and resource materials to tribal community residents about lead’s health hazards, including risks from lead-based paint.

The Fallon Paiute-Shoshone Tribe in Nevada was awarded a $40,837 EPA grant to support the tribe’s efforts to conduct lead awareness and lead poisoning prevention workshops. The tribe plans to conduct presentations for tribal members on the dangers of lead poisoning and how to prevent exposure to lead hazards.

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, go to: http://www.epa.gov/region09/toxic/lead/ For information on lead in paint, dust and soil, visit: http://www.epa.gov/lead/. For information on protecting your family from lead hazards, visit: http://www.epa.gov/lead/pubs/leadinfo.htm#protect

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