HUD Issues Final Rule to Help Children Exposed to Lead Paint Hazards
In an effort to respond quickly when young children living in federally assisted housing experience elevated levels of lead in their blood, HUD published a new rule lowering the department’s threshold of lead in the child’s blood to match the more protective guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). HUD’s new action level for lead in a young child’s blood has been lowered from 20 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood (µg/dL) to 5.
Young children living in HUD-assisted homes have lower blood lead levels than do comparable children in unassisted homes. Still, some young children living in HUD-assisted homes have blood lead levels higher than the CDC’s threshold. By lowering HUD’s reference level to conform to the CDC’s, HUD will be able to intervene more quickly to stop the negative impact lead can have on the lives of these and other young children.
When a child under age 6 resides in HUD-assisted housing and has an elevated blood level, the housing provider will have to test the home and other potential sources of the child’s lead exposure within 15 days, and ensure that hazards from lead-based paint, dust, or soil are controlled within 30 days. The housing provider must also report the case to HUD so the department can ensure that follow-up is completed on time. To enable housing providers to prepare for these more stringent requirements, HUD is providing a six-month phase-in period before compliance will be required.
This rule will cover about 3 million HUD-assisted housing units built before 1978, the year lead-based paint was banned for residential use. Of these homes, about 500,000 are estimated to have children under age 6 residing in them.