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Friday, April 13, 2012

Lead-Based Paint Poisoning Prevention: Summary of Federal Mandates and Financial Assistance for Reducing Hazards in Housing

Linda-Jo Schierow
Specialist in Environmental Policy

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 1.4% of surveyed children living in the United States between the ages of 1 and 5 years have an unacceptably high level of lead in their blood (i.e., 10 micrograms or more of lead per deciliter of blood), which may result in learning disabilities, reduced intellectual ability, or other problems. Poor children are at special risk because elevated blood-lead levels are more prevalent among children from families with lower incomes, and inadequate nutrition can increase lead absorption by the body. Many sources of lead exposure have been eliminated or reduced, but an important remaining source of lead exposure today is house dust containing lead-based paint (LBP) from deteriorated or abraded surfaces of walls, door jambs, and window sashes, or from home renovations that release LBP. Many buildings constructed prior to 1978, when the lead content of interior paint was restricted to current levels, still contain LBP, but most LBP is found in homes constructed prior to 1960.

The federal Lead-Based Paint Poisoning Prevention Act (LBPPPA), as amended, directs the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to regulate, and authorizes funding for, the detection and control of LBP hazards in housing that receives federal assistance. There are no federal mandates related to LBP in privately owned housing unless it receives federal financial assistance in some form. However, the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992 (Title X of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1992; P.L. 102-550) directs the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to require training and certification in LBP safe work practices for contractors engaged in home renovations and repairs of homes constructed prior to 1978. In addition, Title X authorizes federal grants through HUD to state and local governments for LBP hazard reduction in privately owned housing that does not receive federal assistance. Congress annually considers funding for these lead hazard reduction grant programs, all of which target older (pre-1978) housing for low-income residents.

Date of Report: April 4, 2012
Number of Pages: 9
Order Number: RS21688
Price: $19.95

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