CDC Confirms Higher Blood Lead Levels in Flint Children

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“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on June 24 released the results of its investigation of the potential health impact that lead contamination in the Flint, Mich., water supply had on the blood lead levels of local children and reported that its findings indicate when the source of the water supply was switched to the Flint River, without appropriate corrosion control measures, young children who drank the water had significantly higher blood lead levels than when their water source was the Detroit water system. After the switch back to the Detroit water system, the percentage of children under 6 years with elevated blood lead levels returned to levels seen before the water switch took place, CDC reported.

“This crisis was entirely preventable and a startling reminder of the critical need to eliminate all sources of lead from our children’s environment,” said Patrick Breysse, Ph.D., director of CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health. “CDC is committed to continued support for the people of Flint through our Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention program and efforts to raise awareness and promote action to address the critical public health issue in communities across the country.”

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Opportunity to provide renovator refresher training entirely online

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“On February 10, 2016 EPA finalized revisions to the Lead-based Paint program. The final rule allows refresher training to be done without a hands-on component, which means it can be completed entirely online. Taking a renovator refresher course that does not include hands-on training will result in a 3- year renovator certification. Taking a refresher training course that includes hands-on training (regardless of whether the rest of the course is taken online or in a classroom) results in a 5-year renovator certification. Individuals who take the renovator refresher without hands-on training must, for their next refresher course, take a refresher course that includes hands-on training to maintain renovator certification.

Note: Should you decide to offer the renovator refresher training without hands-on please note that the notification requirements for this type of training were updated.”

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Working in a Winter Wonderland: 4 Things to Know in the Snow

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“The bite of winter is fast approaching, with some areas already covered in frosty white. While many workers will be earning a living indoors, plenty of people in the United States will be working outside in the coming months, often in bitter cold. Employers should be aware of the dangers, and plan accordingly.

Here are four things every employer should know in the winter:

1. What do I need to know about shoveling snow?
2. How do you walk safely on snow and ice?
3. What should I know if there’s snow on the roof?
4. What if there’s no snow?”

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EPA Settlements Help Protect Public Against Health Hazards from Lead Exposure

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“The EPA announced 75 enforcement actions from the past year that require renovation contractors and training providers to protect people from harmful exposure to lead dust and debris, as required by EPA’s Lead-based Paint Renovation, Repair, and Painting (RRP) regulations.

Seventy-five settlements were filed from October 2014 through September 2015 for renovations performed on pre-1978 homes and child-care facilities, and each requires that the alleged violator certify its compliance with RRP regulations to EPA and, in most cases, pay civil penalties to resolve the alleged violations. The violations cited in the settlements reflect EPA’s goal to reduce illegal and unsafe renovations, and the lead hazards risks that result from them.

“Ensuring that lead-based paint is properly removed and handled helps protect children’s health when repairs or renovations are performed in older housing, particularly where kids live” said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “These cases show that EPA is serious about making sure companies that break the law are held accountable when they undercut responsible businesses and put public health at risk.”
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