In December of 2018, the Environmental Protection Agency published their new Lead Action Plan as a part of the President’s Task Force on Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks to Children. The purpose of the plan is to establish collaborative work practices between the federal government, local agencies, property owners, businesses, and parents to reduce lead exposure and the associated health effects. The plan consists of four main goals:
- Reduce children’s exposure to lead sources
- Identify lead-exposed children and improve their health outcomes
- Communicate more effectively with stakeholders
- Support and conduct critical research to inform efforts to reduce lead exposures and related health risks
In support of this action plan, the EPA has tightened their standards on accepted levels of lead in dust on floors and windowsills. Effective on January 6, 2020 (18 days after the rule was published in the federal register on July 9, 2019), the hazardous level of lead in dust on windowsills will be reduced by more than 50% from 250 micrograms per square foot to 100 micrograms per square foot and the hazardous level on floors will be reduced by 75% from 40 micrograms per square foot to 10 micrograms per square foot. New regulations will apply to most pre-1978 housing and child-occupied facilities just like the 2001 regulations.
Hazardous levels were last revalued in 2001. Since then there has been continued research on the effects of lead on human health. Evolving science and new data has led the Center for Disease Control to recognize there is no safe level of lead in blood. The EPA has made their ruling on acceptable levels of lead in dust based on the findings of this research as well as the achievability of standards.
For more information about the EPA’s continuing efforts to reduce the risk of lead hazards visit their website.