Lead in drinking water has been all over the news in recent months. Should we be concerned about lead poisoning in King County?
In King County, water is not a common source for lead. Lead in drinking water usually comes from pipes or fittings. These are five things to know about lead in drinking water.
Lead from paint is the most common and dangerous source of exposure. Lead was added to house paint before it was banned in residential paint in 1978, so if your home was built before then, you may have paint with lead in it where you live. This is a concern because as old paint cracks and peels, it creates dangerous dust.
Children under six are most at risk for lead poisoning because their bodies are developing. If you are concerned that your child may have been exposed to lead, talk with your health care provider. The only way to know for sure if a person has been exposed to lead is to do a blood test.
How can you keep your family safer and reduce exposure to lead paint?
- Reduce your exposure to possible lead dust in your home by dusting with a damp cloth and using a vacuum with a HEPA filter.
- Keep children away from peeling paint. Lead tastes sweet and children have been known to eat paint flakes.
- If you are remodeling the home you own and live in, and it was built before 1978, follow safe remodeling practices to reduce exposure. If you hire someone, they must be a lead certified contractor.
Another source of lead in our area is contaminated soil. Lead is in soil due to many years of lead in gasoline and years of contamination by regional smelters. Reduce your family’s exposure to lead in soil:
- Remove shoes before going inside
- Cover bare patches in your yard with ground cover
- Keep pets clean.
If you have questions call staff at our Household Hazards Line at 206-296-4692, Monday to Friday, except holidays, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
You can’t watch children all the time. So how can you keep them safer?
If you have unwanted hazardous products you could get them out of your home and away from curious hands.
How can you tell which products under the sink or in the closet are hazardous?
Look on the label. If you see the words DANGER or POISON, that means the product is very harmful.
If you see the words CAUTION or WARNING, that means the products is somewhat harmful.
And if you don’t see CAUTION, WARNING, DANGER OR POISON on the product label, that means the product is safer to use.
So if you want to get rid of hazardous products you don’t want, what do you do?
- You aren’t supposed to throw them in the trash.
- Instead, take them to a disposal site, at no cost.
Getting rid of hazardous products you no longer use can help keep you and your family safer.
What if there was a convenient way to deal with that oil-based paint that you’re currently taking to a hazardous waste facility or that latex paint that you’re drying out before putting in the garbage can?
Steve Dearborn, chief executive of Miller Paint, is advocating for that to happen. In a recent op-ed in The Olympian, he encourages the state legislature to pass the paint stewardship bill which would create a statewide paint collection program for the recycling or proper disposal of unwanted paint.
He cites among the benefits of such a program an end to the waste of leftover paint – a valuable resource for which a market exists. His Miller Paint customers each year purchase about 75,000 gallons of recycled latex paint made and sold in Oregon by Metro Paint.
He also calls attention to the benefits to the consumer and the environment. Residents and businesses with unused paint could, under this legislation, take it to a participating retail site. Such a program would help keep paint from being improperly disposed and possibly contaminating the land or waterways.
The bill, which was introduced in the legislature in January 2015, must come up for a vote in the House before the February 17, 2016 cut-off date.
Flood season is coming – Follow these tips to get ready —
Tip #1 :- Safely dispose of unwanted household hazardous products. It’s considered hazardous if it has CAUTION, WARNING, DANGER or POISON on the label (look in the lower left part of the container). Disposal locations here.
Tip # 2 – Computers and TVs often contain hazardous parts. Prevent these from getting into flood waters. If you have any you’re not using, recycle them at one of these locations.
Tip # 3 – Keep your medicines out of the flood waters. Store them in an upper shelf if possible. Safely dispose of any unwanted medicines before flood season. Locations here.
Tip # 4 – Reduce the amount of hazardous products you have on hand. Replace them with the safest products you can find.
Tip # 5 – If safe to do so, store hazardous products on an upper shelf or in a second story area.
Tip # 6 – Keep your household products in their original containers, and make sure they’re tightly closed.
Tip # 7 – Sign up for flood warnings.
Find out how to identify safer chemicals, store art supplies safely and dispose of waste properly at a free
Hidden Hazards in the Arts workshop.
“We are here to help artists take out some of the risks of handling these chemicals, particularly since many of them have home studios. We want to help artists protect their health and their families,” said Donna Galstad, a workshop presenter with the LHWMP Art Hazards project.
“I attended a Hidden Hazards in the Arts workshop, and there was so much information related to my personal art process and the materials I use —crucial new information to avoid exposure to toxins in the studio,” said Mark Calderon, a Seattle sculptor.
More information and register for this free workshop:
- Tuesday, September 16
- 6:30pm- 8:30pm
- Shoreline City Hall – third floor classrooms
- 17544 Midvale Ave N
- Shoreline, WA 98133
Sponsored by the Local Hazardous Waste Management Program in King County and the Shoreline-Lake Forest Park Arts Council.
Enter to win the contest here: http://bit.ly/1nK7xvp
Thanks to 450,000 King County residents and qualifying businesses, the Wastemobile has collected more than 32 million pounds of household hazardous waste since 1989!
To celebrate, we are giving all King County residents who take their hazardous waste to the Wastemobile in August the chance to win an iPad or other gift cards. Just post your photo with you and your hazardous waste on the link below before taking your waste to the Wastemobile.
Thank you to our residents for helping to protect the environment and public health by safely disposing of your hazardous materials and keeping them out of drains and landfills.
The Local Hazardous Waste Management Program in King County fulfills local government responsibilities under state law[i] for managing hazardous waste. We provide for safe disposal of hazardous materials and wastes from residents and businesses that produce small amounts of hazardous waste in King County, as well as a range of services and prevention programs to reduce exposure and risk from hazardous waste.The Program is funded by local hazardous waste fees on solid waste (garbage) and sewer accounts, and nominal fees charged at transfer stations. Monthly local hazardous waste fees are a small part of your garbage bill; your solid waste hauler collects them and sends them to the Program. This monthly fee currently is $1.08 for residents and $11.24 for businesses[ii].
We are putting forth a proposal to the Board of Health for consideration in April — related to the way local hazardous waste fees are assessed to business and multi-family solid waste accounts. Currently, these fees on solid waste accounts are assessed as a flat rate. Under the pending proposal, the fees on businesses and multi-family[iii] accounts would change to a volume-basis, with a three-tiered rate. This change would affect only business and multi-family accounts—it would not affect single family accounts. This change does not affect the fees charged for solid waste collections services.
The King County Board of Health (Board) sets the Program’s rates and will be considering this proposal at their April meeting. If the proposal is adopted, changes to the rates would become effective January 1, 2015.
Why the proposed change? The Program is interested in making its rates fairer. The current system charges all business ratepayers the same, regardless of the volume of solid waste they generate. The proposed change would reduce costs for entities that generate less solid waste, shifting those costs to entities that generate larger volumes. The proposal also changes fees for multi-family complexes, making those rates consistent across the County. Currently, multi-family ratepayers in Seattle pay the local hazardous waste residential rate, while those in other areas of the County pay the business rate. Under the proposed system, all multi-family ratepayers would pay the business rates, based on the tier system described above.
To learn more about Local Hazardous Waste Program services, visit www.lhwmp.org.
Stop by and visit our tables providing businesses large and small with information on hazardous materials and the EnviroStars sustainability and recognition program.
The GoGreen Conference happens tomorrow, Wednesday April 24th. The conference highlights innovative solutions and best practices for sustainability and business operations. Local governments will also be sharing their environmental efforts and vision.
The conference lineup includes:
– King County Executive, Dow Constantine will give the keynote talk on the County’s vision for a sustainable future.
– A mayor’s Forum with the mayors from Snoqualmie, Kirkland and Redmond to discuss economic, health and environmental challenges.
– A climate change panel of governmental, business, academic and other organization’s representatives discussing solutions, environmental and economic impacts.
– Demo workshops for new tools and technologies in supply chain mapping, data collections and analysis.
– Solutions labs on change and brand communications about sustainability.
Details: April 24, 2013 from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Conference Center in downtown Seattle (8th Avenue and Pike Street). Tickets can be purchased online until 5 p.m. on Tuesday, April 23, and will be available in limited quantities on-site.