Like most people, Rochelle didn’t really know much about old lead paint when she contacted the Maricopa County Human Services Department. She had an idea that it could be hazardous, but she didn’t exactly why or how. With five young children to care for, she didn’t want to take any chances.
Lead-based paints were banned for use in U.S. homes in 1978. Homes built before that time may still have some lead-based paint, which can become lead paint chips and dust when the paint peels and cracks.
David Underdonk, a lead specialist with the Maricopa County Human Services Department shares that children are often exposed if they chew on surfaces coated with the paint such as windowsills or door edges, or if they eat or breathe in lead dust. When ingested, lead paint can cause negative health effects on children such as growth and development problems, damage to hearing and speech, and learning difficulties.
After finding hazards when testing Rochelle’s home, David and his team replaced five windows as part of the Lead Safe Maricopa County Program. Using funds from the Healthy Homes Program, they also fixed exposed electrical wires that could have harmed the children. They also added smoke detectors and removed water damage that was turning into mold.
“The Human Services team was happy to help this family,” David said. “Overall, the home is safer and healthier for Rochelle and her children,” he said.
Rochelle, who had originally called for help testing for lead paint, was extremely grateful for all the work and was relieved that children would no longer be exposed to the dangers that had been silently lurking in her home.
For more information on other support available through the Maricopa County Human Services Department, visit Maricopa.gov/HelpWithBills.