Learn about Lead

What is Lead? Lead is a naturally occurring element found in small amounts in the earth’s crust. While it has some beneficial uses, it can be toxic to humans and animals, causing health issues.

Lead-Based Paint (LBP): Lead-based paints were banned for residential use in 1978. Homes and facilities built in the U.S. before 1978 are likely to have some lead-based paint. When the paint peels and cracks, it makes lead paint chips and dust. Any surface covered with lead-based paint where the paint may wear by rubbing or friction is likely to cause lead dust including windows, doors, floors, porches, stairways, and cabinets.

Lead in Water: Lead can enter drinking water when plumbing materials that contain lead corrode, especially where the water has high acidity or low mineral content that corrodes pipes and fixtures. The most common sources of lead in drinking water are lead pipes, faucets, and fixtures. In buildings with lead pipes that connect the building to the water main, also known as lead services lines, these pipes are typically the most significant source of lead in the water.  Lead pipes are more likely to be found in older cities and buildings built before 1986.  Among buildings without lead service lines, the most common problem is with brass or chrome-plated brass faucets and plumbing with lead solder.

Health Effects of Lead: Lead-based paint and lead-contaminated dust are the most widespread and hazardous sources of lead exposure for young children in the United States. No safe level of lead exposure in children has been identified and there is no cure for lead poisoning. That is why preventing exposure to lead, especially among children, is important. Finding and removing sources of lead from the child’s environment is needed to prevent further exposure.

Exposure to lead can seriously harm a child’s health and cause well-documented adverse effects such as:

  • Damage to the brain and nervous system
  • Slowed growth and development
  • Learning and behavior problems
  • Hearing and speech problems

This can cause:

  • Lower IQ
  • Decreased ability to pay attention
  • Underperformance in school

There is also evidence that childhood exposure to lead can cause long-term harm.

Testing for Lead and Abatement: If a building was constructed before 1978, then it most likely contains lead. A certified lead-based paint inspector or risk assessor, such as ERC, can conduct an inspection to determine whether the building or a portion of the building has lead-based paint and where it is located. This will tell you the areas where lead-safe work practices should be used for renovation, repair, or painting jobs. A certified risk assessor can conduct a risk assessment telling you whether the building currently has any lead hazards from lead in paint, dust, or soil.

If lead is located, the risk assessor will create an abatement plan to address any hazards. Lead abatement is an activity designed to permanently eliminate lead hazards. Abatement must be performed by a certified lead abatement firm due to specialized techniques not typical of most contractors.

For more information about lead, visit these sites:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Texas Department of State Health Services (TDSHS)

In the Swing of the 2020 Storm Season

The Atlantic Hurricane Season runs June 1st through November 30th. Researchers have estimated 6-10 hurricanes predicted during the 2020 season – up to 6 major; with 13 total named storms. Ever wonder where the names for tropical storms and hurricanes come from? And why are they even named in the first place?

Prior to the 1950s, hurricanes and tropical storms were tracked by using the year and the storm’s order in that year. For example, the third tropical storm in 1920 would simply be referred to as “1920 Storm 3”. During the 1950s, meteorologists were having difficulty tracking storms in this fashion and started using names for the storms.

Today, the World Meteorological Organization is responsible for developing the names for both Northern Pacific and Atlantic storms. They use six lists of names for each, rotating them each year. Names of storms which have done tremendous damage such as Katrina, Michael, Sandy, and Harvey, have been retired from the lists and replaced with another name starting with the same letter. More than 80 names have been retired. Not all letters of the alphabet are created equal! Q, U, X, Y and Z have been omitted, leaving only 21 names on each list. And if there are more than 21 storms? Additional storms will take names from the Greek alphabet.

2020 so far:

  • Arthur – Tropical Storm, May 18th, North Carolina
  • Bertha – Tropical Storm, May 27th, South Carolina
  • Cristobal – Tropical Storm, June 7th, Louisiana
  • Dolly – Tropical Storm, June 23rd, NE US Coast (never landed)
  • Edouard – Tropical Storm, July 6, New Foundland
  • Fay – Tropical Storm, July 10th, New Jersey

Next 5 names:

  • Gonzalo
  • Hanna
  • Isaias
  • Josephine
  • Kyle

For the full list, visit the National Hurricane Center. While there, revisit some of the preparations you should take during this hurricane season.

 

AFTER SURVIVING THE STORM… THE BATTLE MAY NOT BE OVER.

MOLD

Mold can cause serious health problems. The key to mold control is moisture control. After the flood, remove standing water and dry indoor areas. Remove and discard anything that has been wet for more than 24-48 hours.

The EPA guide for building managers, custodians, and others who are responsible for building maintenance:  EPA-Mold

RENOVATION AND REBUILDING

Once the mold is remediated, it’s time to rebuild! But wait, there are regulations related to build back activities. Two to keep in mind:

Lead-safe work: By law, contractors need to use lead-safe work practices on emergency renovations on homes or buildings built before 1978. Activities such as sanding, cutting, and demolition can create lead-based paint hazards. Lead-contaminated dust is harmful to adults, particularly pregnant women, and children.

Asbestos: Anyone working on demolition, removal, and cleanup of building debris needs be aware of any asbestos and to handle asbestos materials properly. People exposed to asbestos dust can develop serious lung health problems including asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma. Although the use of asbestos has dramatically decreased in recent years, it is still found in many residential and commercial buildings and can pose a serious health risk.

 

If your organization is affected by a storm and you do not know where to start… CALL ERC!

We offer turnkey services that can get you back up and running as quickly as possible. For those participating in TIPS or Choice Partners cooperatives, ERC holds disaster mitigation contracts designed specifically for this type of recovery.