Lead poisoning cases blamed on home renovation projects - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Lead poisoning cases blamed on home renovation projects

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) - Some home remodeling projects are harming Iowa children. A new report by the State Department of Public Health shows that 75 percent of kids who got lead poisoning from June to September of this year, were exposed to it during home renovation projects.

We spoke with the owner of AEC Construction in Cedar Rapids, who says the danger is closer than you may think.

In homes built before 1978, Larry Van Deusen says it's safe to assume that the window sills, walls, and trim are, or were at one time, covered in lead-based paint.

Even a small amount can poison a child.

"It doesn't take very much, and the lead paint is sweet-tasting," Van Deusen told us.

Van Deusen is certified in lead abatement, meaning he can get rid of hazards by removing the paint or covering it up. He showed how easy it is for paint to chip off and fall to the ground where children can easily pick it up.

"We can abate that hazard by either digging in or removing some of that soil that has the lead-based paint in it. In addition to that, we put in a barrier and six inches of mulch, or it could be covered with concrete or paving to eliminate that kind of a hazard."

Van Deusen says windowsills and areas that collect moisture are especially prone to chipping.

"You could either wet-scrape and wet-sand and clean those windows, or actually remove the windows and put new vinyl windows in or something of that nature, or put in new wooden windows."

When it comes to home renovation projects, it's best to cover them with a tarp when they're not being worked on, or close them off in a room, if possible. After a project is done, it's best to vacuum and wash the area with mild detergent. Then, throw any paint chips or dust in a trash dumpster to go to a landfill.

The Iowa Department of Public Health has a list of certified lead specialists: http://www.idph.state.ia.us/eh/certified_lead_prof.asp

Online Reporter - Brady Smith

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