Subcommittee on Housing and Transportation
Hearing on "Lead-Based Paint Poisoning: State and Local Responses"
Prepared Statement of Mr. Richard A. Fatur
Environmental Protection Specialist
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
2:30 p.m., Tuesday, November 13, 2001 - Dirksen 538
Good morning Chairman Reed, Senator Allard and members of the Subcommittee. My name is Rick Fatur, and I am an Environmental Protection Specialist with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s Lead-Based Paint Program. This morning I have been asked to testify before your Subcommittee on Colorado’s Lead-Based Paint Program.
First I want to thank you for inviting me to this discussion on state and local Lead-Based Paint Programs.
I would like to start by giving you a summary and overview of our state program.
I would say that Colorado is an example of a state with an average childhood lead poisoning problem. We have found that 3-4% of the children tested have elevated blood lead levels, which is close to the national average. We have identified pockets or areas where 15-20% of the children have elevated blood lead levels. But we do not seem the have the problem some states have where certain cities or areas may have up 50% of the children with elevated blood lead levels.
The only current Colorado state lead-based paint (LBP) regulation covers the abatement of lead-based paint.
- Colorado’s LBP regulation for abatement is nearly identical in content to the federal EPA LBP regulation for abatement, with just a few minor differences.
- The current regulation covers the following items.
- There are requirements for conducting -
- LBP Inspections
- LBP Risk Assessments
- Abatement Projects
In addition, Abatement Projects -
- Have requirements for Notification
- Need to be conducted by certified abatement firms using certified workers and supervisors
- Are inspected by the state to ensure that proper work methods are being used
- Enforcement actions may be taken for noted violations
We require certification of -
- Abatement Firms
- Workers, Supervisors, Designers, Inspectors and Risk Assessors
We approve Training Providers -
- Classes are audited to ensure proper course content
- Overall the state regulation is working well. Inspections, risk assessments and abatements are presently all voluntary activities. I believe lead poisoning could be further reduced if triggers could be introduced requiring these activities be conducted under certain circumstances.
I would now like to address some of the positive aspects of our program.
- We are showing an increase in abatement activities/projects, which shows that people are becoming more aware of the problem.
- We are also showing an increase in the number of abatement firms, and all personal certifications.
- Working "lead-safe", by containing and controlling lead hazards, is becoming more a common practice.
- Since inspections, risk assessments and abatements are voluntary actions, a major part of the program is outreach and education. We developed a Colorado Lead Coalition to help us with these activities and are seeing very good results from its work. Incidentally, the EPA honored our Colorado Lead Coalition with an Environmental Achievement Award on October 30th.
Members of the Coalition include:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
Environmental Protection Agency
Colorado Department of Housing
Denver Environmental Health
Denver Housing and Neighborhood Development
Northeast Denver Housing Center
Denver Water Board
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry
New Coalition members for this next year will include:
El Paso County Health Department
- The Colorado program for testing children is working well and we continue to see an increase in the number of children being tested.
- We have begun the process of revising our State regulation to mirror the new EPA regulatory requirements issued in January, 2001.
Finally, I would like to discuss some of the problems we have seen, not only within our state, but also nationally.
- By far the majority of projects are being done for the purpose of renovation and remodeling, not abatement. Abatement is the elimination of lead-based paint hazards and must be conducted in accordance with existing regulations. HUD requires some training to control lead-based paint hazards during HUD renovation and remodeling projects, but the vast majority of renovation and remodeling projects are still being done by untrained persons without any control measures.
- Again, I believe lead poisoning could be further reduced if triggers could be introduced requiring inspections before renovation and remodeling is permitted, and requiring that risk assessments and abatement be conducted under certain circumstances.
- The EPA needs to promulgate their other regulations as quickly as possible to close the present loopholes. These include the regulations covering -
- Renovation and Remodeling
- Buildings, Bridges and Structures
- One of the most significant problems involving lead-based paint is the lack of funding or financial assistance available for abatement or lead-safe renovation and remodeling. Although there seems to be enough funding for training, outreach, education and even free training classes, almost no money exists to help the underprivileged families who have lead poisoned children and have an urgent need for interim controls or abatement to correct lead-based paint hazards in their homes. We should think of ways to focus more immediate attention on this issue.
We will all need to work together to resolve some of these problems in order to reach our nation’s goal of eliminating childhood lead poisoning by the year 2010.
Thank you very much and I would be glad to respond to any questions you may have. I have also included a rough diagram of LBP regulations and how they affect each other. I would be glad to discuss the diagram if anyone has any questions.
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