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Housing Group Sponsors Info Fair on Lead Paint

By Mark Scott

Buffalo, NY – The dangers of lead-based paint have been well documented. Yet, organizers of a weekend forum on the topic say many people who own older homes fail to take proper precautions when removing paint.

Even though lead-based paint was banned in 1978, it's still in homes built before then, on window sills and doors. And if those painted surfaces begin peeling, the lead, and the health risks that come with it, are re-introduced into the environment.

Saturday, the non-profit housing organization, Belmont Shelter Corporation, will hold an information fair, bringing together a variety of experts to address the dangers of lead-based paint. Belmont spokesman Doug Carpenter says it's an appropriate time of year to do so as people spruce up their homes for the holidays.

"Just scraping down a window sill can easily re-introduce lead-based paint into the home," Carpenter said. "And with it comes all of the health risks that are involved -- everything from osteoporosis, learning disorders and erectile dysfunctions -- a wide range of medical conditions that have been traced directly to lead-based paint."

Carpenter says Belmont will draw on a lead paint safety training program it's been offering landlords and will share that information with others.

"'Work wet, work safe' is one of our phrases. We encourage people not to just scrape down 'dry' because it creates airborne particulate matter that can become embedded in carpets," Carpenter said.

There is no charge for the fair which will run from 10 till 2 tomorrow at ECC's City Campus.

Carpenter said homeowners who think they already know enough about the dangers of lead-based paint will probably come away having learned something new.