What Schools Need to Know About Lead-based Paint
Children can come in contact with lead in many ways. Exposure to lead can slow down growth, development, and learning and can cause behavior problems in children. Children absorb lead more easily than adults so they are at special risk. The major source of lead poisoning in Vermont children is lead dust from chipping or peeling lead-based paint. Children can also be exposed to lead during renovation projects or whenever lead-based paint is improperly sanded, scraped or burned.
It is important to know about lead hazards to protect students and staff from coming in contact with it. Implementing lead safety into school renovation plans is an important step to lower the overall risk. Assume lead-based paint is in schools built before 1978. The risk of lead poisoning can be reduced when schools are maintained in a way that lowers or eliminates sources of lead — such as lead-contaminated soil, lead dust, and chipping or peeling lead-based paint.
Lead poisoning can be prevented. Learn more about lead hazards and how to prevent lead poisoning
School Renovation Projects
Renovation projects can create lead dust. When maintaining and renovating lead-based painted surfaces in schools built before 1978, the Health Department and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommend lead-safe work practices.
Unsafe work practices that disturb lead-based paint will create lead hazards (see Section 2.2.28). Under Vermont law, if lead hazards are created in any building or structure, you will be responsible for the cleanup that will require you to hire a Vermont-licensed lead abatement contractor.
Schools should consider hiring an EPA Lead-Safe Certified Firm to perform renovation or repair work in areas where there is lead-based paint. These contractors have been trained in special methods to lessen dust and clean thoroughly to lower the chance of lead contamination. Find an EPA Lead-Safe Certified Firm
Vermont Lead Law for Child Care Providers in Schools
Some schools are also sites for child care facilities. In Vermont, Inspection, Repair and Cleaning (IRC) Practices are required for all pre-1978 child care facilities. IRC Practices are relatively inexpensive maintenance activities that property owners or property managers must do to reduce lead-based paint hazards and inspect the property for chipping or peeling lead-based paint.