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Boces Students Get Lead Renovator Certified

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Some local students are getting lead renovator certified through a two day program at Broome Tioga Boces. The program is part of one of the county's active lead poisoning prevention programs.

"Any house built before 1978 could have some lead based paint in it, and the older a house is, the more likely it is for there to be lead," said Sarah Walker, a Public Health Educator with the broome County Health Department.

Walker says that's why the Broome County Health Department and Broome Tioga-Boces are partnering through a housing based program to inspect homes and educate future contractors about how to work with lead safely.

"Not a lot of people are certified in this training, that should be, because a lot of houses are not up to date. A lot of people are renovating homes that have lead paint in them and not a lot of people know about it," said Anthony Colon, a Senior at Chenango Valley High School.

If it's red it's lead. Educators say that this simple test that students learned today can prevent toxic lead poisoning in young children.

"It causes all kinds of learning difficulties, from ADD to reading difficulties and behavioral problems," said Gary Fenton, a work-site coordinator for the Susquehanna County Career and Tech Center.

"They're crawling, they're putting their hands and fingers in their mouths, they'll put toys in their mouths and sometimes a very fine lead dust that comes out of deteriorating lead based paint could end up on their toys, on their fingers and in their mouths," said Walker.

Students learned that lead is a neurotoxin, but it's only dangerous in paint when it's chipping or flaking, which creates lead dust. Students said a valuable technique they learned was how to test paint chips using the lead swab test.

"It was pretty easy. You just break the vials and then you get the orange paint stuff and if it's red then it's lead," said John Negros, a Senior at Vestal High School.

County officials are prioritizing home health within Broome County's Comprehensive Plan.

Walker says this training is beneficial not only for county neighborhoods, but especially for these aspiring contractors.

"This kind of gives them a leg up as far as their own education and their career goes," said Walker.