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The Effects of Lead in Our Natural Environment Presented by: Beth Campbell & Lucie Watkins 4/28/2004 Introduction Lead poisoning is a serious health hazard that, while steadily decreasing, exists in many cities throughout the nation.
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The Effects of Lead in Our Natural Environment Presented by: Beth Campbell & Lucie Watkins 4/28/2004
Introduction • Lead poisoning is a serious health hazard that, while steadily decreasing, exists in many cities throughout the nation. • Among children, “lead is the number one environmental health risk.” • Lead can be found in paint, dust, soil, and drinking water. • Our investigation was to research lead poisoning and various forms of lead testing as background research for a future audit.
Research Methods • We investigated EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) lead guidelines, effects of lead on children, ways of testing for lead, and other universities’ programs for lead testing. • Using a Lead Inspector lead test kit, we observed the conditions and manner in which lead testing should be conducted.
Potential Health Hazards of Lead • Lead is a neurotoxin found in developing countries. • At high levels, lead can potentially harm most body organs, especially children under the age of 6. • At low levels, lead can cause behavioral and mental disorders (ex. Attention Deficit Disorder).
Potential Health Hazards Continued… • Lead exposure can harm children before they are born. • Lead can enter the blood stream by ingesting soil or paint chips and/or inhaling lead dust. • Lead can also be harmful to adults: high blood pressure, digestive problems, nerve disorders, and muscle and joint pain.
EPA Facts • Since 1980, the EPA has strongly reduced the prevalence of lead content in industrial air pollution, gasoline, and drinking water. • Also, the EPA has severely limited/banned lead content in consumer products (ex. residential paint). • The EPA works closely with federal, state, and local governments to educate the public about the dangers of lead.
To Contact the EPA… • The National Lead Information Center (NLIC) – distributes information and materials regarding lead poisoning by request. • Phone: (585) 232-3111 • E-mail: www.epa.gov/opptintr/lead/nlic.htm (requires the completion of a request form)
Other Programs • Loyola University Chicago – Dr. Alanah Fitch began a nationally recognized program to bring lead poisoning awareness to inner-city children. • Her chemistry students work with these children to test for lead in paint and soil around their homes. • She has also written a play entitled “House of Butterflies” which highlights the effects of lead poisoning on factory workers in the 1920’s.
Lead Testing • To test for lead in paint chips, we purchased a Lead Inspector lead test kit for appox. $19.99. • The kit contains 24 swabs, testing solution, and confirmation strips. • The kit can also be used on soil, jewelry, antiques, water, plumbing, mini blinds, toys, etc.
Conditions for Testing • We recommend a highly ventilated area. • Place either paper towels or newspaper underneath testing area to prevent stains. • Avoid eyes and skin • Keep solution in cool, dry place.
This Is Just A Test: Lead and Paint In order to adequately test the paint chips, the internal layers of the paint must be exposed.
Lead and Paint Continued… After dipping swab into the solution, lightly rub paint chip for approximately one minute.
Lead and Paint Continued… If the swab produces negative results, rub tested swab onto a confirmation strip. If the confirmation strip turns brown, results on swab test are correct.
Our Recommendations • The Lead Inspector Kit is affordable and easy to use. • Collect paint samples from older neighborhoods (preferably built prior to 1978). • If choosing to work with Cypress Middle School students, do not cause any unnecessary panic. Approach topic with delicacy. • Take any necessary health precautions. • Contact the EPA for additional information and ideas for testing.
References • Environmental Protection Agency: www.epa.gov • NLIC: www.epa.gov/opptintr/lead/nlic.htm • EPA Lead Info.: www.epa.gov/opptintr/lead/leadinfo.htm • HomeSafe Environmental: www.leadpro.com/factsheet/html • Lead Inspector Lead Test Kit: www.leadinspector.com • Loyola University Chicago: www.luc.edu/publications/loyolamag/summer2001/play.htm
Acknowledgements • Prof. C. Ekstrom – ordering test kit, supplying paint chips, supplying digital camera, and providing information regarding Loyola University Chicago’s Lead Program • Eva Owens – downloading pictures