• Improving the renovation, repair and painting training course to eliminate childhood lead poisonings: Wisconsin observations

      Hildebrandt, Anke M.; McBeath, Gerald; Meek, Chanda; Greenberg, Joshua (2013-12)
      In 2011, I worked briefly with the Asbestos and Lead Program for the State of Wisconsin. It was my job to conduct audits of our training providers as well as on-site inspections of work sites. During my time there I discovered a real disconnect between what I saw in the field and what is taught in class. Wisconsin has its own lead rules that are more stringent than the EPA's. After taking a critical look at the EPA's Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule (RRP) curriculum, I saw where the problems lay. The required hands-on training does not present the skills in a logical order and the demonstration is not similar enough to reality to be retained and transferred to a worksite consistently. Instead of contractors and homeowners learning how to conduct a job safely from start to finish, they are presented specific skills broken down into 11 skill sets. Over a four month time span I took the EPA curriculum and wrote scripts, videotaped, edited and narrated training videos with the assistance of Department of Health Service staff to eliminate the disconnect between the classroom learning and the real world. The videos demonstrate lead-safe work practices in a manner intended to increase retention rates. The videos were released in July 2012, and since then inspection statistics show a 13 percent decrease in offenses from certified workers and a 31 percent decrease in violations overall. Data for the first half of 2013 also indicated a positive trend; violations by certified contracts are down an additional percent. The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation conducted a study in 1996, finding that 62 percent of Alaska private homes were built prior to 1979. This means approximately 49 percent of all Alaskan homes contain lead-based paint, 14 percent higher than the national average. The use of lead-based paint in colder regions is not uncommon. Lead-based paint was praised for its durability and longevity, making it ideal for regions in the circumpolar north. Americans spend nearly 90 percent of their time indoors. In cold climates, such as the Arctic, people tend to spend even more time indoors (EPA, 2012). Increased time indoors allows for increased wear on friction surfaces in the home. For children, deteriorating lead-based paint and lead in house dust are the primary and often most concentrated sources of lead (CDC, 2012). The Center for Disease Control reports that in 2004 there were 143,000 deaths and a loss of 8,977,000 disability-adjusted life years attributed to lead exposure worldwide. The primary cause was lead-associated adult cardiovascular disease and mild intellectual disability in children. Children represent approximately 80 percent of the disease impact attributed to lead, with an estimated 600,000 new cases of childhood intellectual disabilities resulting from blood lead levels (BLLs) greater than 10 υg/dL(CDC, 2012).