October 23, 2012

20th Anniversary of Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992 – Title X

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Title X is an important piece of modern history, however many are unaware of the breadth of its significance.  Title X has nothing to do with mutant superheroes, Cartesian coordinate planes, or world-famous, televised music competitions. It is considerably more important than these other X-associations because it has everything to do with your health and paint. Yes, paint.

Otherwise known as the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992, Congress, 20 years ago passed Title X to protect young children and families from harmful exposure to lead in paint, dust, and soil. Lead-based paint was commonly used for painting homes and other buildings until its use in house paint was banned in 1978. About three-quarters of the nation’s housing stock built before 1978 still contains some lead-based paint. Chips and dust from this paint can create a health hazard, especially for young children. This is where Title X comes into the picture.

Lead-Based Paint Poisoning – A Preventable Disease

Lead poisoning is a highly preventable disease among young children under the age of six. Unfortunately, about half a million U.S. children have elevated blood lead levels mainly because of exposure to lead in dust and soil. To help break the pattern of children being exposed to lead, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under Title X have taken several actions:

  • Requiring people selling or renting homes built before 1978 to tell the buyers or renters about lead-based paint and its hazards before the sale or lease occurs. HUD and EPA wrote the Protect Your Family from Lead in Your Home pamphlet that is given to buyers and renters to inform them on how to keep their homes and families lead-safe.  For more information visit: Lead Disclosure Rule)
  • The EPA requires renovation, repair or painting contractors to notify families living in these older homes of the hazards
    associated with the work before such work begins. The EPA, with HUD’s help, wrote the Renovate Right pamphlet that these contractors use to notify families. (For more information visit: Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule)
  • Because people living in millions of older homes receive federal housing assistance – such as for section 8 vouchers, or for public housing – HUD requires that the homes be evaluated for the potential for lead exposures, and that they be cleaned up to prevent children from becoming lead poisoned, under its Lead Safe Housing Rule.

HUD’s Office of Healthy Homes Lead Hazard Control

The Office of Healthy Homes Lead Hazard Control (OHHLHC) is your headquarters for all things housing and health. As part of its efforts on the elimination of lead-based paint poisoning, the office provides resources and technical assistance to local communities and stakeholders. Since 1993, the Office has awarded over $1.5 billion in grants to combat lead poisoning in the hardest hit areas. The Office and the EPA also together enforce the Lead Disclosure Rule together, and, within HUD, the Office and the Department’s program offices enforce its Lead Safe Housing Rule.

In addition to its work on lead safety, OHHLHC has an active healthy homes program that covers a wide range of housing-related health and safety issues, such as reducing allergenic materials in homes because they can trigger asthma, reducing smoking in homes, reducing radon levels in homes, and controlling pests with fewer, and less toxic, pesticides.

Knowledge is the key

“For two decades, HUD has worked to eliminate lead hazards from homes using the authority given to us by Title X,” said Jon L. Gant, Director of the OHHLHC. “This law has helped us partner with federal, state, tribal and local agencies, and with non-profit organizations to help eliminate childhood lead poisoning as a major public health problem, and we are well on our way to that goal.”

HUD, EPA, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) encourage you to understand more during National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week (NLPPW) to understand your family risks.  NLPPW is October 21-27, and we encourage all families to get their homes and children tested – lead poisoning is 100% preventable if families know what to do and what to look for. Knowledge is the key component to the elimination of lead poisoning. So be a part of the effort to end childhood lead poisoning by sharing these steps with your friends and family: Get your Child Tested, Get your Home Tested, and Get the Facts.

For more information on lead-base paint poisoning, visit the sites below or call the National Lead Information Center (NLIC) toll-free number, 1-800-424-LEAD, [5323], or, if you have hearing or speech impairments, by TTY at 800-877-8339.

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