Free Workshops on Lead-Safe Practices to be Held Nov. 24

By Kevin Rowe

LITTLE ROCK – A coalition of public health advocates that includes the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS), will host a pair of free Nov. 24 workshops on reducing health risks associated with lead-based paint, targeting parents along with contractors who are renovating old homes.


A workshop for parents, grandparents, daycare providers and others in the community will be held from 5:30-8 p.m. in Children’s Hall on the Arkansas Children’s Hospital East Campus, 1621 W. 10th St. Dinner will be served and childcare is available.


For contractors, painters, do-it-yourself homeowners, builders and others who might work in old homes, a daylong workshop will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Hinton Neighborhood Resource Center, 308 W. 12th St. Lunch will be served.


Door prizes will be handed out during both workshops. Participants also will receive goodie bags.


Reservations are required for both workshops and can be made by calling (501)364-3867.


Arkansas still has many structures built before 1978, when the federal government banned use of lead-based paint due to health concerns. Children exposed to lead dust can suffer from hearing, balance and memory loss, in addition to developmental problems. Adults can suffer damage to their central nervous or reproductive systems.


A rule by the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), set to take effect in 2010, requires contractors and those renovating older structures to take precautions to minimize exposure to lead dust.


UAMS, Arkansas departments of Environmental Quality, Health, Arkansas and Human Services, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) and the Home Instruction for Parents of Pre-School Youngsters (HIPPY) program have joined forces to highlight lead-safe practices required by the EPA rule. The coalition, organized as APPLE (Arkansas People Participating in Lead Education), will hold upcoming workshops in North Little Rock, Marianna, Pine Bluff and Helena-West Helena.


The parent workshops will discuss the health risks of lead dust, how to know if a child has been exposed to lead and when a lead screening may be needed. Other topics will include lead safety and dietary habits that can mitigate lead exposure, such as regular vitamins and minerals as well as a low-fat diet.


The contractor workshop will focus on lead-safe practices for renovation work and the new EPA rule.


UAMS is the state’s only comprehensive academic health center, with five colleges, a graduate school, a medical center, six centers of excellence and a statewide network of regional centers. UAMS has 2,652 students and 733 medical residents. Its centers of excellence include the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, the Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, the Myeloma Institute for Research and Therapy, the Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, the Psychiatric Research Institute and the Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging. It is one of the state’s largest public employers with about 10,000 employees, including nearly 1,150 physicians who provide medical care to patients at UAMS, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the VA Medical Center and UAMS’ Area Health Education Centers throughout the state. UAMS and its affiliates have an economic impact in Arkansas of $5 billion a year. Visit