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Exposure to lead is a major hazard to infants, young children, and pregnant women. Scientists have linked the effects of lead on the brain with lowered IQ in children, and even low levels of lead can cause permanent brain and kidney damage.
The bad news is that lead poisoning can and does happen in the Portland-area. In a study of older homes in North, Northeast and Southeast Portland, 71% had composite lead dust levels that exceed federal standards.
The good news is that exposure to lead is entirely preventable.
In Portland, the most common source of lead exposure is not from lead in water but from lead-based paint. The Water Bureau’s unique and award-winning Lead Hazard Reduction Program, developed in coordination with state and local public health agencies to comply with the federal Lead and Copper Rule, focuses on all hazards posed by lead, while targeting those most at-risk. The program currently provides resources for hazard reduction in homes, free blood lead testing, and community education and outreach regarding lead hazards.
If your organization has identified a need for lead hazard reduction in your community and have ideas for addressing that need, please consider submitting an application. For projects or programs that are applying to the program for the first time, applications are due to the Lead Hazard Reduction Program by Wednesday, April 29 at 5 p.m. If you have any questions, please contact the Lead Hazard Reduction Program at 503-823-1547.
The application is available online.