New EPA Lead Limits to Protect Kids

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), together with Housing and Urban Development, have announced new, tighter standards for lead in dust on floors and window sills to protect children from the harmful effects of lead exposure.

In 2001, the Agency set standards for lead in dust for floors and window sills in housing, however, since that time, the best available science has evolved to indicate human health effects at lower blood lead levels than previously analyzed.

To protect children’s health and to continue making progress on this important issue, EPA is lowering the dust-lead hazard standards from 40 µg/ft2 to 10 µg/ft2 on floors and from 250 µg/ft2 to 100 µg/ft2 on window sills.

The revised, more protective standards lower the level of lead in dust that may warrant measures to reduce risks.

Lead-contaminated dust from chipped or peeling lead-based paint is one of the most common causes of elevated blood lead levels in children. Infants and children are especially vulnerable to lead paint exposure because their growing bodies absorb more lead than adults do and their brains and nervous systems are more sensitive to the damaging effects of lead.

They can be exposed to multiple sources and can cause irreversible and life-long health effects. Lead dust can be generated when lead-based paint deteriorates or is disturbed.

The rule will become effective 180 days after date of publication in the Federal Register.