Commerce’s Lead-Based Paint Program collaborates to decrease kids’ exposure to lead

Home that benefited from Commerce's lead program

Through collaboration among community partners and Commerce programs, this home’s lead problems are being addressed to help keep this Washington family safe and healthy.

By Jennifer Caraway

This week, Oct. 20-26, is National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week. It brings together individuals, organizations, industries, and state, tribal and local governments to increase lead poisoning prevention awareness in an effort to reduce childhood exposure to lead.

According to the Center for Disease Control, about 3.6 million U.S. children younger than age 6 live in homes with lead exposure hazards.

Did you know Commerce has a Lead-Based Paint (LBP) Program that works hard to decrease childhood exposure to lead? And it’s succeeding, as illustrated in the following customer experience, which required collaboration among our Community Services and Housing Division program, our Energy’s Weatherization Program and community partners.

In January 2019, a 19-month-old child living in Spokane was diagnosed with lead poisoning. Six months later, his lead levels had more than doubled.

The family learned that its effort to install larger windows in their 1911-built home was contaminating the soil surrounding the home as well as generating contaminated paint chips and dust inside the home.

That’s when the community mobilized and collaborated to aid this family. Lots of teams came together to try to help, including:

  • Molina/Apple Health
  • Commerce’s LBP Program
  • Department of Health’s Lead Hazard Control Program
  • A local community action program (CAP)
  • Spokane Neighborhood Action Program (SNAP)
  • Commerce’s Weatherization Program

Now the family is getting its soil remediated, new paint on the home and new windows. This will reduce the child’s exposure to lead and strengthen this family and its community.

“This was a great opportunity to collaborate among Commerce programs and outside agencies,” said Cynthia Sanderson, the LBP Program’s manager. “We were able to help the family recover from a lead-based paint exposure by leveraging many different resources.”

Learn more about Commerce’s Lead-Based Paint Program.

Jennifer Caraway is a compliance and enforcement officer in the Lead-Based Paint Program within Commerce’s Community Services and Housing Division.

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