|HUD No. 19-091|
HUD Public Affairs
June 21, 2019
WASHINGTON – HUD congratulates the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for issuing new, tighter standards for lead in dust on floors and windowsills to protect children from the harmful effects of lead exposure. EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, along with HUD Secretary Ben Carson, announced the standards that Administrator Wheeler signed today.
“EPA’s efforts to update its standards for lead dust on floors and windowsills in pre-1978 homes and child-occupied facilities is an important step forward,” said Secretary Carson. “We will look to complement the EPA move by using this new standard to update the lead safety requirements for pre-1978 housing.”
“EPA is delivering on our commitment in the Trump Administration’s Federal Lead Action Plan to take important steps to reduce childhood lead exposure,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “Today’s final rule is the first time in nearly two decades EPA is issuing a stronger, more protective standard for lead dust in homes and child care facilities across the country.”
Since the 1970s, the United States has made tremendous progress in lowering children’s blood lead levels. In 2001, EPA set standards for lead in dust for floors and windowsills in housing, however since that time, the best available science has evolved to indicate human health effects at lower blood lead levels than previously analyzed.
To protect children’s health and to continue making progress on this important issue, EPA is lowering the dust-lead hazard standards from 40 micrograms of lead per square foot (µg/ft2 ) to 10 µg/ft2 on floors and from 250 µg/ft2 to 100 µg/ft2 on windowsills. The revised, more protective standards lower the level of lead in dust that may warrant measures to reduce risks. The expectation is that the update will become effective near the end of this year.
Lead-contaminated dust from chipped or peeling lead-based paint is one of the most common causes of elevated blood lead levels in children. Infants and children are especially vulnerable to lead paint exposure because their growing bodies absorb more lead than adults do, and their brains and nervous systems are more sensitive to the damaging effects of lead. They can be exposed from multiple sources and may experience irreversible and life-long health effects. Lead dust can be generated when lead-based paint deteriorates or is disturbed.
Reducing childhood lead exposure and addressing associated health impacts is a top priority for HUD, EPA, and the other federal agencies on the federal Children’s Environmental Health Task Force. In December 2018, HUD, EPA, HHS, and other Federal partners released the Lead Action Plan, a blueprint for reducing lead exposure and associated harms by working with a range of stakeholders, including states, tribes, and local communities, along with businesses, property owners, and parents.
HUD, EPA, HHS, and their Task Force partners continue to work with their federal partners to improve coordinated activities and implement objectives of the Lead Action Plan.
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