GOSHEN — A program that removes dangerous lead-based paint from homes is seeking families to work with in Elkhart County.
The Elkhart County Lead Hazard Control Program has remediated seven homes since receiving a grant of nearly $2.5 million last spring. The amount gives the program enough funding to get rid of lead paint in up to 140 homes before May 2015. Dust from lead paint can cause long-term health problems in children, including learning disabilities, hyperactivity, damaged hearing, brain impairment and possibly death. Included in the grant is also $180,000 set aside for repairing moldy and leaky roofs, cleaning ducts and fixing ventilation fans.
Eligibility is based on several factors. Families who apply for the lead abatement program must live in a house that was built before 1978, the year lead paint was banned in the United States. Children ages 6 and younger must live at the house or visit frequently. The child must also get tested for lead poisoning. The county’s health department provides free testing, according to lead hazard program director Carrie Brunson.
“A lot of people don’t even realize that their child could be exposed,” Brunson said.
To qualify for the program, families must have an income at or below 80 percent of the area’s median income. For example, for a family of four to meet income requirements, they must earn less than $42,900 annually. Applicants must also be willing to pay up to 10 percent of the remediation costs based on their income.
To apply for the lead abatement program, call 971-4600 or email Brunson at email@example.com.
HOW TO LIMIT EXPOSURE TO LEAD PAINT HAZARDS
Ÿ Keep areas where kids play clean and dust-free
Ÿ Mop floors and wipe window ledges and chewable surfaces with a solution of phosphate containing powdered automatic dishwasher detergent in warm water
Ÿ Regularly wash toys and stuffed animals
Ÿ Have children wash their hands before meals, nap time and bedtime
Ÿ Make sure children do not chew on painted or varnished surfaces, like window sills, cribs or playpens
Ÿ Let cold water run from faucets for 30 seconds to flush pipes of lead
Ÿ Vacuum regularly and clean carpets annually with wet cleaning methods
Ÿ Do not store food or beverages in lead crystal glassware or imported or old pottery