Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Homeowner's Yard Becomes Toxic When Fugitive, Floating Lead-Contaminated Paint Chips, Dust Created By Next Door Neighbor's Renovation Of Pre-1978-Built Home Navigates Onto Her Property; Contractor Promises To Get EPA Certification Before Resuming Work & Remediate Tainted Soil After Homeowner Calls Health Dept.

In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, WPXI-TV Channel 11 reports:
  • A home renovation in Pittsburgh’s Lawrenceville neighborhood created a toxic environment in the yard of a woman who lives next door.

    Kim Autore began noticing paint chips and dust in her garden last month while contractors removed paint from the exterior of the neighboring home. “It was creating clouds of dust that contained wood chips, paint, etcetera,” she said.

    Autore, whose 2-year-old niece often plays in the yard, called the Allegheny County Health Department to have tests done. The tests came back indicating that lead levels in her yard were nearly three times above what the Environmental Protection Agency considers safe for a child’s play area.

    Channel 11’s Aaron Martin spoke with Autore on Monday. She said her niece and her friends had been over days earlier. “Her and several of her toddler friends, family friends, were here playing in the yard. It really gets me upset if I wasn’t home to witness what was going on,” Autore said.

    ACHD Environmental Health Administrator David Namey estimates that nearly 80 percent of homes in Allegheny County were built before 1978, the year lead paint was banned. He said work and renovations done on old houses can put children at risk.

    “They’re crawling on the floor. They’re hands are going on lead painted surfaces that accumulate dust, and the dust goes into their mouth,” Namey said.

    The health department recommends that children under 6 years old get tested for lead exposure to help prevent any long-term effects.

    Autore said she wants people to be aware of the dangers.

    The contractor working on Autore’s neighbor’s home has agreed to get the EPA certification required to remove lead paint, before continuing with the project, and will pay to replace contaminated sections of Autore’s yard.

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