HUD to Site Owners: Protect Children from Lead Paint
Nearly 14 years after the Lead Disclosure Rule was put into place, HUD is still encountering site owners and managers who are violating the rule. Just recently, HUD announced settlements with two San Antonio owners for failing to warn their residents that their homes may contain potentially dangerous lead paint.
As part of the settlement, the owners have agreed to make 15 sites containing 33 total units lead safe. In addition to performing $84,000 in lead paint hazard remediation work, the owners have agreed to pay $6,000 in civil penalties and $20,000 in Child Health Improvement Projects (CHIPs).
The CHIPs will consist of a $15,000 project with the University of Texas Science Center to buy and deploy an onsite blood lead analyzer and test kits, and a $5,000 project with LeadSafe San Antonio to conduct a workshop for owners to learn lead requirements when renting and renovating pre-1978 residential housing.
Health Risks of Lead Exposure
The Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Act of 1992 is one of the primary federal enforcement tools to prevent lead poisoning in young children. Lead exposure causes reduced IQ, learning disabilities, developmental delays, reduced height, poorer hearing, and a host of other health problems in young children. Many of these effects are thought to be irreversible. In later years, lead-poisoned children are much more likely to drop out of school, become juvenile delinquents, and engage in criminal and other antisocial behavior.
As reported in The New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found that even at low levels, lead exposure in children can significantly impact IQ and even delay puberty in young girls. At higher levels lead can irreversibly damage a child's kidneys and central nervous system and cause anemia, coma, convulsions, and even death.
Eliminating lead-based paint hazards in pre-1978 housing is essential if childhood lead poisoning is to be eradicated. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates, the percentage of children with elevated blood lead levels has been cut in half since the early 1990s, although the prevalence of childhood lead poisoning in low-income, older housing remains high. HUD estimates that the number of houses with lead paint has declined from 64 million in 1990 to 38 million in 2000. About 24 million homes contain significant lead-based paint hazards with the potential to poison young children.
EDITOR's NOTE: To learn about training and certification for site and maintenance staff in lead-safe work practices, see “Deadline Approaches for Lead-Safe Work Practices, Training, and Certification,” Insider, Feb. 2010.
Inform Residents of Lead-Based Paint Presence
The Lead Disclosure Rule, authorized by the act, requires owners and managers of housing built before 1978 to disclose to residents knowledge of lead-based paint or lead-based paint hazards using a disclosure form, signed by both parties, attached to the sales contract or lease containing the required lead warning statement, provide any available records or reports, and provide an EPA-approved “Protect Your Family From Lead in Your Home” pamphlet.
Owners and managers can download the pamphlet, which is available in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Russian, Arabic, and Somali, from HUD's Web site: www.hud.gov/offices/lead/enforcement/disclosure.cfm.