Evolution of Approaches to
Lead-Based Paint in Housing
Lead-free housing is the long-term goal.
Make all housing lead-safe now.
Wait until a lead-poisoned child is identified to respond to lead hazards.
Make properties lead-safe in the first place to prevent poisoning.
Lead-based paint is the major cause of childhood lead poisoning.
Lead-based paint is the major source—lead-contaminated dust is the major pathway of children’s exposure.
Determining the amount of lead in the paint is critical.
Paint condition is as critical as its lead content. Regular monitoring for paint deterioration is part of good property maintenance.
Take hazard control measures only after a certified lead inspector has identified which surfaces are coated with lead-based paint.
In many cases, it makes sense to assume leaded paint, follow safe work practices, and do “clearance tests” for quality control.
Permanent removal or abatement of lead paint is the only way to guarantee safety.
Calibrate the response to the situation to make housing lead-safe. Target enforcement and subsidies to high-risk, low-income properties.
Lead safety is the exclusive province of certified lead experts and delivered through dedicated, stand-alone projects.
Maintenance staff, painters, and remodelers need to use lead-safe practices; only “abatement” projects require lead experts.
The only training available related to lead-based paint is for certified lead experts.
4-8 hour training courses in lead-safe work practices, approved by HUD and EPA, are widely available at low cost.
Painters and remodelers should “broom sweep” the work area at project’s end.
Specialized cleaning methods are critical. Clearance testing is the only way to be sure that lead dust hazards are not left behind.
No common standard of reference clearly establishes the “standard of care” for rental property owners.
HUD’s lead-safety regulation establishes clear duties for rental properties receiving federal assistance (24 CFR 35).
No federal standards for what constitutes lead hazards in the residential environment.
EPA standards define dangerous levels of lead in dust, paint, and soil (40 CFR 745).
“Let the buyer beware.”
Buyers and tenants have a right to know about lead-based paint and lead hazards.
*Article provided by the Alliance to End Childhood Lead Poisoning. www.aeclp.org