June 10, 2003 – The manufacture and sale of paint containing lead has been banned in the United States since 1978, but danger remains of exposure to the toxic chemical during the rehabilitation of old buildings.
To address that problem, the Virgin Islands is among 48 U.S. jurisdictions that have entered into an agreement with the National Paint and Coating Association. It calls for manufacturers to include warnings about lead on paint cans and to develop outreach programs to educate the public about the hazards of exposure to the substance.
Lead poisoning can result from inadequate surface preparation prior to repainting, according to a release from Attorney General Iver Stridiron. The agreement is important to the Virgin Islands, he said, "because of the various 'scrape, paint and rejuvenate' building rehabilitation projects in the islands which may cause the release of lead paint residue from the older targeted homes, especially on St. Croix."
For families involved in rehab projects, Stridiron said, efforts should be made to protect children and pregnant women from exposure to dust that may contain lead. "Whether repainting an older rented apartment, installing a brand-new kitchen or renovating an older building, it is imperative that families take the proper precautions to avoid exposure," he said.
The NPCA has agreed to provide free consumer education and training courses on lead-safe renovation and repainting for contractors, homeowners, landlords and housing workers and to develop discount programs for safety equipment, the release said.
For further information about working safely with lead-based paint, visit the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Lead Information Web page, or call the EPA hotline at (800) 424-5323.
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