Black Hawk County Health Department to recommend new lead-based paint regulations | Political News

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WATERLOO — The Black Hawk County Health Department is recommending new lead-based paint regulations in hopes of continuing to limit the hazardous chemical from inside living quarters.

The Board of Health will hold a public hearing on the proposed measure at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday at the Pinecrest Building, 1407 Independence Ave., on the fourth floor in Room 420. If approved, it would move onto the Board of Supervisors for final adoption.

The actual language of the proposal was not available online nor included within the public notice for the upcoming hearing, but both explained the supposed rationale behind the recommended local changes:

  • An increase in the number of pertinent definitions — 30 “term definitions,” up from the previous fourteen.
  • Increase applicability — clearer guidelines on when and how to pursue risk assessments.
  • Robust lead hazard reduction requirements; increased detail in several areas, specific hazards, effective mitigation practices and
  • prohibited methods of hazard reduction.
  • Clear compliance and enforcement procedures, adoption of current Black Hawk
  • County procedure for enforcement.
  • Additional protections for tenants.
  • Updated regulatory language for hearings, variance requests and for the filing of injunctions.

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Homes built in the United States before 1978 are likely to have some lead-based paint. It was banned from residential use that year due to the devastating health effects it can have on people, especially young children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Children could be poisoned by chewing on painted lead surfaces, eating paint chips or breathing in lead dust, according to the CDC. The agency also says lead exposure can lead to brain damage, slowed development and learning problems, among other effects.

Whether the county’s code already regulates paint-based lead is unclear because it appears to have not been updated online for a few years.

In reviewing the code for the two largest cities in Black Hawk County, Cedar Falls was found to have guidelines for lead based paint.

Dwelling units should comply with Housing and Urban Development lead-based paint regulations pursuant to the Lead Based Paint Poisoning Prevention Action, the city’s code states.

“If the property was constructed prior to 1950, the residents, upon occupancy, shall be furnished the notice required under the Housing and Urban Development lead based paint regulations, and procedures regarding the hazards of lead based poisoning, the symptoms and treatment of lead poisoning and the precautions to be taken against lead poisoning,” it reads.

Waterloo does not seem to have any specific language pertaining to lead-based paint.

But there have been previous efforts by city officals, in partnership with the health department, to dedicate funding to lead abatement, with an emphasis on the oldest, low-income, and highest minority concentrated neighborhoods.

Both cities have adopted internationally recognized building code standards into local policies, meaning some semblance of lead paint regulations are likely law without being directly stated within ordinance.


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