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Some paint in Escondido Village on borderline of "lead- containing"

STANFORD -- Stanford University tests in its Escondido Village housing complex have found paint on the borderline of the federal definition of "lead-containing," university officials said.

However, no elevated levels of lead in the blood were found during recent state tests of about six children of graduate students living in the complex, according to Dr. Harvey Weinstein, director of the Cowell Student Health Center.

The five units of the complex were built between 1959 and 1966. About three-quarters of privately owned, occupied housing units built in the United States before 1980 still contain lead-based paint, which was banned for new residential use in 1978.

Tests by Stanford's Department of Environmental Health and Safety found that some paint in Escondido Village fell around the borderline of what the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development defines as "lead-containing" - 1.0 milligrams per square centimeter of painted surface. Most interior walls at Escondido Village were below that threshold, while trim surfaces ranged from 0 to 1.5 and exterior surfaces from 0.5 to 2.0.

While all those readings are relatively low, the university plans further testing of paint, soil, sand and water at Escondido Village.

"At this time, we have no reason to believe that the test results will show elevated levels of lead in the soil, sand and water supply," said Tom McBride, director of the Department of Environmental Health and Safety. "When the results are in, we'll advise the Escondido residents."

As a safeguard, the university is offering free blood tests to children under the age of 7 living in or being cared for in Escondido Village, and to resident fellows' children living in Stanford's older dormitories. The tests, in which blood is drawn from the arm, will be offered from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday at the Cowell Student Health Center for a month beginning April 6. Those interested should call 723-4841 to schedule an appointment.

Should any tests show elevated levels of blood, confirmation tests and medical follow-up might be recommended. Results will be provided to parents.

The results that showed no elevated lead levels in the blood came from children who undergo various routine tests under California's Child Health and Disability Prevention Program.

Adults generally are at low risk from exposure to lead. However, national studies have found that small children who regularly ingest lead - for example, by eating paint chips - can experience decreased intelligence and impaired neurobehavioral development.

All Escondido Village residents are being asked to inspect their apartments and to notify the village facilities office (723-1192) if they find peeling trim or exterior paint. Remedial measures will be taken, and special training is planned to teach Escondido Village painting and maintenance workers safe practices in working with lead-based surfaces.

A notice containing information on precautions is being delivered to all Escondido Village residents this week. It includes tips to parents, such as keeping children away from peeling paint; washing children's hands before they eat; washing items that children put in their mouths; and wet- mopping surfaces to remove paint dust that may contain lead, particularly using cleaners high in phosphates, such as dishwasher powders.

Escondido Village residents with further questions can call Janet Gleason, health and safety coordinator at Housing and Food Services, 723- 3453; Mary Dougherty at Environmental Health and Safety, 725-1474; and the Family Practice Program at Cowell Student Health Center, 725-1374.



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