WASHINGTON -- The University of Maryland at Baltimore has been tapped by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to house one of five regional centers that will train workers in lead-contamination detection and removal.
The selection was announced yesterday.
The school has received a grant to run the center, which will open in July, in conjunction with the University of Cincinnati. Although specific figures are being negotiated, each center's grant for the first year will be $200,000 to $250,000, said Noah Brown, a spokesman for the National University Continuing Education Association (NUCEA).
NUCEA is awarding the grants in cooperation with the EPA.
The goal of the training centers is to establish a national network of professionals qualified to identify and control lead in residential paint, soil, dust and water, EPA spokesman Joseph Carra said.
Lead poisoning can delay neurological development in children and fetuses, leading to behavioral problems and lower IQs.
The other four regional centers will be at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, the University of Kansas in Lawrence, the University of California at San Diego and Georgia Tech in Atlanta.
The EPA created the centers as part of an effort that began more than a year ago to reduce lead exposure in children and adults.
Despite the laws eliminating lead from paint used in homes, 74 percent of homes built before 1980 contain some leaded paint, Mr. Carra said. Children are most susceptible to lead poisoning in the home because they are more likely to be near the floor, where lead dust collects.
Once trained, workers from the center will help local residents determine whether their homes contain lead paint or lead pipes that could affect drinking water. They will also offer solutions for cleanup.
The UMAB center will be developed in collaboration with Baltimore-based Leadtec Training Services and the Baltimore Jobs and Energy Project, two local groups active in the prevention of lead poisoning.
UMAB's training center is the primary facility in the region, but there will be a network of independent facilities.
After a pilot run in Baltimore, the training curriculum will be reviewed by center staff, independent consultants and representatives from the Baltimore Jobs and Energy Project.