ATCOG was awarded the EPA Lead Based Outreach and Training grant for FY 2009 and has partnered with the twin cities of Texarkana and the American Chemical Society’s local chapter of Texarkana College in order to educate low-income segments of the communities of the dangers of lead poisoning and to identify and reduce the likelihood of incidences of elevated blood-lead levels in residents with poor housing in the communities. Because many communities that are disproportionally affected by childhood lead poisoning contain under-served populations, EPA desires to reach communities that are new to lead awareness programs. As part of this effort, the current project’s goals are to decrease the number of children exposed to lead hazards and to increase the number of individuals who will be trained in lead-safe work practices. Homeowners, renters, contractors, do-it-yourself workers, and realtors will all be targeted with outreach and training on lead-safe work practices at the community level.
Under the project direction of Paul Prange, Environmental Resources Planner at ATCOG, the lead poisoning prevention outreach will be provided to the communities through educational outreach materials available from EPA, HUD and CDC. These materials contain appropriate language comprehension and cultural identification suitable for the community to receive the outreach information. Brochures, pamphlets and posters will be distributed by the ATCOG Lead Based Outreach Technician, Charles Clift, with the assistance of the American Chemical Society from Texarkana College. This information will be distributed throughout the community, especially the highly utilized community centers in the twin cities. Mr. Clift will also disseminate information to the area medical community, primarily focusing on lead based hazard children’s health issues. Another focus group that will receive lead based hazard outreach materials is the retail establishments selling paint and home remodeling materials.
The staff of the twin cities will work together with ATCOG to review current codes and will work with other staff members, contractors, renovators, property owners, and city council members to develop stronger ordinances and /or codes that will enable the code enforcement staff to better address lead hazards and protect children from the lead poisoning. These ordinances and /or codes will be developed and implemented during the life of this project. Contractors and do-it-yourself renovators working within the city limits of Texarkana, Arkansas and Texarkana, Texas, and property owners will be regulated by the stronger ordinances and/or codes that will be implemented. The grant fiscal year ended September 2009, but the Texarkana College Chapter of the American Chemical Society are sustaining the lead outreach education and training program at this time to further educate our community concerning the dangers of lead. PLEASE NOTE All area home owners, landlords, renovators, contractors, realtors and maintenance workers: ∗ Both the cities of Texarkana, Arkansas and Texarkana, Texas have passed new lead ordinances.
∗The EPA has announced a new Federal lead rule that begins April 2010. For more information regarding this new law, please visit www.epa.lead.gov or contact the ATCOG Environmental Resources Department at 903-832-8636.