September 13, 2012

Lead Guidelines Updated to Keep Children Safer

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Earlier this month, HUD released the updated version of the Guidelines for the Evaluation and Control of Lead-Based Paint Hazards in Housing.  This is the first major update since 1995, and includes many important changes to help bring HUD’s guidance into alignment with recent research results, EPA and OSHA regulations, and guidance from the CDC. It also captures the best practices that we have learned in the last 17 years about keeping families – especially children under 6 years old – safe from lead hazards in their homes. These Guidelines are important for anyone who owns, manages, fixes up, modernizes, or lives in properties built before 1978 where young children live or visit frequently. They provide guidance on the appropriate treatments, training of workers, and certifications necessary to deal with lead hazards in paint, dust, and soil.

Thanks to medical research, we now know that even small amounts of lead in a young child’s blood can be dangerous, and the Guidelines help people take action sooner to prevent children from becoming exposed to lead, and if necessary, correct the home environment of children who have been exposed. This is so important, because exposure to lead causes developmental delays, brain damage, and in very severe cases, death. Young children are most at risk, and least able to protect themselves.

For almost all housing and “child-occupied facilities” built before 1978, EPA regulates work that may disturb lead paint.  The new Guidelines provide extensive information and insights about how to do this work safely and effectively.  The new Guidelines similarly address how to do work under HUD’s regulation covering lead in almost all pre-1978 federally-owned or -assisted housing, the Lead Safe Housing Rule.

We know that it can take some effort to translate any update this important into changes in how people manage and work on housing. To help people understand the changes we made and how they will change how to deal with pre-1978 housing, we’re hosting a Twitter chat on September 24 from 2:30-3:00pm EST, with the hashtag #HUDLeadBook. We also welcome your questions at Lead.Regulations@HUD.gov at any time. Together we can help keep America’s housing safe for all of America’s children.

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