It’s National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week and a good time to learn more about lead poisoning and how to prevent it. With the drastic change in lead poisoning standards this summer, and new Lead: Renovation, Repair and Painting rules looming, it’s also a good time to give this issue some thought.

The threshold for lead poisoning was lowered from 10 micrograms per deciliter to 5 micrograms earlier this year, which means many more children will test positive for lead poisoning than before, and hopefully before they have suffered any ill effects. The consequences of exposure to lead can be dire:

  • Damage to the nervous system and peripheral nervous system
  • Delayed or stunted growth and physical development
  • Problems with cognitive development
  • Behavior issues
  • Hearing and vision problems
  • Coordination and motor function problems.
  • Digestive difficulties
  • Kidney disease
  • Death

This weekend we came across a story about a landlord who isn’t quite sure how a new rule in Pennsylvania will affect him.

Ordinance 1000-11A in Philadelphia mandates that all rental property owners signing leases with new tenants who have children under 6 years of age certify that the property has been tested for lead.

This only applies to units built before 1978, when use of lead paint was banned in the US.

If lead is found, it is removed by trained lead paint removal professionals, like those at Alliance Environmental Group.

The landlord in the article fears that he will be liable if his lead tests are negative, but a child later is discovered to have heightened levels of lead in his or her blood. He fears that if the tests are not done properly, he could be blamed. He and other landlords in the area are also concerned about the added cost of inspections, analysis and remediation in their properties and some appear to be selling before the ordinance takes effect in the next two months.

Since the ordinance also mandates that the test be done by certified assessors or inspectors and the samples be sent to a certified laboratory, it is highly unlikely that the inspections will be done poorly, but they will cost property owners money. Of that there is no doubt.

It seems to us that the admitted costs of inspection and analysis, as well as lead remediation, are more than worth the benefit in protecting the health of children, pregnant women, and indeed, anyone living in an older home or apartment building.

What do you think?

Wendy Stackhouse is the Online Community Manager and Blogger for Alliance Environmental Group and AirTek. We welcome your comments and questions! For more news and tips or talk to our experts, Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter! For updates on indoor air challenges, Like us at AirTek on Facebook!