Washington, D.C. – The District Department of Environment today announced that the agency’s Lead and Healthy Housing Division has been awarded the prestigious Lead Star Award for its outstanding effort to reduce childhood lead poisoning and advance lead hazard control activities in the District of Columbia . The award was presented at the 2011 National Lead and Healthy Homes Conference in Miami, Florida,
Jointly issued by the Lead and Environmental Hazards Association and the National Association of Lead and Healthy Homes Grantees, the Lead Star Award has, for the past 10 years, recognized organizations and individuals that have demonstrated a high level of achievement and commitment to preventing lead poisoning at the local, state, or national level. The 2011 Lead Award was presented to DDOE’s Lead and Healthy Housing Division and its three managers: Pierre Erville, Associate Director; Gian Cossa, Branch Chief for Compliance and Enforcement; and Harrison Newton, Branch Chief for Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention and Healthy Homes.
“I am very pleased about this honor,” says Christophe A.G. Tulou, director of DDOE. “Lead poisoning is preventable and identifying ways to educate our community on how to protect themselves, especially children, against lead poisoning is a top priority.”
The District’s Lead and Healthy Housing Division has been developing a dynamic lead poisoning prevention program and coordinating the activities of multiple District agencies to ensure a consistent, effective approach to the issue. Most recently, DDOE’s Lead and Healthy Housing Division established partnerships with DC Water, the Department of Health, and the Department of Health Care Finance to inform the local medical community and District residents about the connection between the presence of lead service lines for drinking water and an increased risk of elevated blood lead levels. The four agencies jointly issued a Physician Advisory on this issue, with recommendations to doctors about the steps they should take in response to a landmark study released by the federal government in December 2010. This level of coordination between multiple agencies marks a first for the District of Columbia in its long history of tackling the lead issue.
The District Department of the Environment Lead and Healthy Housing Division, which operates under the agency’s Environmental Protection Administration, is responsible for promoting lead screening of children as well as home health and safety education, providing case management services to the families of lead poisoned children, educating contractors and property owners on lead-safe work practices, accrediting and certifying training providers and contractors, issuing lead abatement permits, and eliminating lead-based paint hazards throughout the District, prior to any harmful exposure. In addition, DDOE and its Lead and Healthy Housing Division have been hosting quarterly interagency meetings on lead, to ensure all agencies are up to speed on developments and ensure coordination is occurring with respect to each agency’s lead-related responsibilities.