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By Rossany Auceda, Iowa Department of Health and Human Services

As more parents return to the workplace there is an increasing demand for more home daycares.  If you provide a daycare in your home do you know if it is safe for children? Start your home daycare knowing that your place is safe from lead hazards!  

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If your home was built before 1978 there may be lead-based paint on the original surface.  Lead was added to paint to make it last longer and be more durable. “The health hazard is not the existence of lead-based paint, but the condition of the paint.  When lead-based paint gets old it starts to crack and fall off making it available to children and hazardous,” commented Kevin Officer, Manager of the Iowa Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program.

How do you identify lead-based paint hazards in your home daycare? Check the floors, window sills, window troughs, siding, trims, and porches for paint chips, chipped or cracked paint, or any form of deterioration. A lead-based paint hazard looks like a crocodile’s skin.  

To repair a lead-based paint hazard you can also use the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) approved test kits, available at some retail stores.  In addition, you can hire a certified lead-safe renovator.  If you find lead-based paint that may be hazardous, then hire a lead-safe renovator to fix it.  Iowa law requires repairs to lead-based paint in home daycares to be fixed by an Iowa certified lead-safe contractor.  Click HERE to find an Iowa certified lead professional. 

Regardless if your home daycare is registered with the Department of Health and Human Services, your responsibility is to provide a lead-safe environment for children.  In the last couple weeks the Department of Public Health has identified more home daycares with lead-poisoned children.  According to the environmental inspectors, the main reason for lead poisoning has been the presence of lead-based paint hazards on the floor, window sills, window troughs, and porches of the homes.

If you need more information about this topic, dial (515) 281-7230.

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