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Sellwood resident gains national recognition for lead activism

by: Connie Buckley Tamara Rubin, a Sellwood resident, shown with Jon Gant, Director of the HUD Office Of Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Control, as she received her award in Denver on June 22nd.

Tamara Rubin, a resident of Sellwood, was presented the national 'Healthy Homes Hero Award' in Denver, Colorado, on June 22nd.

The award was presented by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) agency at the 2011 National Healthy Homes Conference in Denver, which was organized by a consortium of Federal agencies including HUD, the EPA, the CDC, the USDA, and the US Department of Energy.

Tamara reveals that she was honored for her 'volunteer advocacy work around the country helping families whose children have been poisoned by lead paint in their homes'. She helped to publicize the new EPA RRP Rule - a Federal law that requires contractors working on pre and #8208;1978 houses to be certified and trained in the use of lead-safe work practices. Tamara also worked with State Representative Carolyn Tomei to draft House Bill 2715, which went before the Oregon Legislature this session.

HB 2715 has bipartisan support, and reportedly will be moving to a workgroup for refinement at the close of the current session. The bill is intended to ensure that childcare centers and schools in Oregon do not have lead hazards. Lead hazards can lead to permanent brain damage and cause learning disabilities and lifelong health challenges for people who are poisoned as young children, Rubin reports.

On March 31 of this year, Tamara incorporated a new nonprofit organization, the 'Lead Safe America Foundation', with the State of Oregon, to provide emergency support to families with lead poisoned children. She adds that it will also provide resources and support to parent advocates who volunteer for causes that benefit children.