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EPA awards $70,000 to South Fork Band of the Te-Moak Tribe

Release Date: 10/24/2006
Contact Information: Wendy Chavez, 415-947-4248, chavez.wendy@epa.gov

(10/24/06) SAN FRANCISCO – As part of Lead Awareness Week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced that it has awarded a $70,000 grant to the South Fork Band of the Te-Moak Tribe of Western Shoshone Indians of Nevada to determine the extent of lead-based paint hazards potentially affecting children living on the tribe’s land.

EPA awarded approximately $900,000 nationwide in 2006 to assist federally-recognized tribes educate residents about the health effects of lead-based paint and evaluate potential lead-paint hazards at homes where tribal children live and at tribally-owned buildings used by children.

“This grant will help the South Fork Band determine whether children are being exposed to lead-based paint or lead hazards,” said Enrique Manzanilla, Communities and Ecosystems Division director for the EPA’s Pacific Southwest region. “These funds will help protect the health and well-being of young children living on the tribe’s land.”

Nevada’s South Fork Band will conduct workshops for tribal community members to explain the health risks of lead-based paint, in particular health risks to young children and expectant mothers. The tribe will also sample paint, dust and soil in and around pre-1978 housing where young children live and at pre-1978 tribally-owned buildings used by children to determine potential risks from exposure to lead hazards.

The South Fork Band also plans to coordinate with the Wells Band of the Te-Moak Tribe of Western Shoshone to design and implement similar activities among Wells Band tribal community members.

Lead-based paint is a major source of lead poisoning for children and also affects adults. Lead poisoning can cause brain damage and result in impaired mental functions. Childhood lead poisoning can result in retarded mental and physical development and reduced attention span. Retarded fetal development can occur at even low blood lead levels. Unborn children, infants and young children have been identified as being among the most vulnerable to lead's adverse health effects.

The use of lead-based paint in residential housing was banned in 1978. Approximately 40 percent of all U.S. housing units -- about 38 million homes -- have some lead-based paint. For information on EPA’s lead paint program visit: http://www.epa.gov/region09/toxic/lead/ For information on lead in paint, dust, and soil see http://www.epa.gov/lead/.

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