Contact Us


All News Releases By Date


EPA Awards Grant to a Northern California Tribe to Prevent Childhood Lead Poisoning

Release Date: 01/20/2010
Contact Information: Mary Simms, (415) 947-4270,

SAN FRANCISCO – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded $49,463 to the Big Valley Rancheria, a Northern California tribe in Lake County, Calif., to fund childhood lead poisoning prevention efforts.

The tribal grant will enable Big Valley Rancheria to conduct baseline assessment activities and identify potential lead hazards affecting tribal community members living on the Rancheria.

"Childhood lead poisoning is entirely preventable with the right information and awareness,” said, David Tomsovic, Environmental Protection Specialist in EPA's Pacific Southwest region. “This grant is one of many being awarded across the country to protect our children from a major health threat.”

The EPA grant will be used to determine the extent of lead poisoning among tribal children and potential lead-based paint hazards at tribal facilities. The funding will also help develop effective methods to reduce and eliminate identified lead hazard exposure risks among tribal residents, especially young children who are most vulnerable to the effects of lead poisoning.

"This project serves as a vital component in meeting the national strategic goal of substantially eliminating childhood lead poisoning as a major health threat in the United States," said Kathy Taylor, the EPA's associate director of the Communities and Ecosystems Division for the Pacific Southwest Region.

The project enables Big Valley Rancheria to conduct lead hazard assessments at pre-1978 tribal housing and pre-1978 child-occupied facilities; facilitate a childhood blood lead screening program; and develop partnerships with members of Lake County's childhood lead poisoning prevention program. Big Valley Tribal members are descendants of the Xa-Ben-Na-Po Band of Pomo Indians that historically have inhabited the Clear Lake area for over 11,800 years.

Young children are particularly susceptible to lead poisoning since they are more likely to ingest lead paint chips, flakes, or dust and are more sensitive to the adverse health effects of lead. Elevated lead levels in young children can trigger learning disabilities, decreased growth, hyperactivity, impaired hearing, and brain damage. Lead can be found in a number of places inside and outside the home. For example, lead can be found in household dust from deteriorating lead-based paint or from soil tracked into the house. It can also be found in drinking water coming from old lead pipes, fixtures and solder.

The use of lead-based paint in U.S. residential housing was banned in 1978. Approximately 75 percent of the U.S. housing stock built before 1978, or 64 million homes, contain some lead-based paint.

For regional information on EPA’s lead paint program, go to:
For information on lead in paint, dust and soil, visit:
For information on protecting your family from lead hazards, visit: