By Julie Piron, USAG Benelux Public AffairsSeptember 21, 2018
CHIÈVRES, Belgium -- On Sept. 14, U.S. Army Garrison Benelux hosted a town hall on Caserne Daumerie in Chièvres, Belgium. The town hall followed a news story posted by Reuters Aug. 16 about the elevated blood lead levels in children and some health effects on some children that may be related to lead exposures from living in Army housing.
FACTS ABOUT LEAD
- Lead is a naturally occurring element found in the earth's crust.
- Paint in housing built before 1978 may contain lead that can be released if not properly maintained.
- Lead is toxic to humans and animals if inhaled or ingested.
- Lead is particularly dangerous to pregnant mothers and children under 6, developing bodies, brains and nervous systems.
- Lead paint has been banned in 1926 in Belgium and in 1939 in The Netherlands against 1978 in the United States.
THREE TYPES OF HOUSING
- Government lease (110 units in U.S. Army Garrison Benelux).
- Private lease rented through the Housing Office.
- Private lease rented without the Housing Office.
WHAT THE GARRISON IS DOING ABOUT LEAD RISKS
- 70% of the government-leased houses have been tested with negative results. The 30% remaining will be tested before the end of 2018.
- 100% of testing of water has been done in child-occupied facilities (CYS, schools…) with all negative results.
- In private houses leased through the Housing Office, an adequacy inspection takes place by the Housing Office.
- For all future government-leased homes, the Corps of Engineers and lessors are making sure the houses are certified lead-free.
You can always contact the Housing Office if you have suspicion or would like help to ask your landlord to do a lead test.
HOW TO REDUCE LEAD RISK
- Report peeling paint, deteriorated wood or water damage to the Housing Office.
- Use door mats or remove shoes when entering home.
- Wash children's hands, bottles, pacifiers and toys often.
- Avoid using containers that are not show to be lead-free to store or cook food.
- Flush water faucet by running water before use for drinking, food ad formula preparation.
- Use only cold water to prepare food and drinks.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU HAVE HEALTH CONCERNS
Schedule an appointment with your care provider to have your blood lead level tested. The SHAPE Healthcare Facility has a simplified process where you don't even have to take an appointment: just drop by the lab and ask your blood lead level to be taken!
For more information:
- Housing for SHAPE/Chièvres/Brussels: +32 (0)68-27 5708
- Housing for Schinnen: +31 (0)464-437340
- Brussels Health Clinic: DSN 566-1515 or +32(0)65-321515
- Geilenkirchen U.S. Clinic - 470th Medical/Dental Flight (for Schinnen, JFC Brunssum and Dülmen personnel): DSN 458-3200 or +49(0)2451-99-3200
- SHAPE Healthcare Facility: DSN 566-5329 or +32(0)65-325329