The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) on Friday finalized new rules to protect children living in federal subsidized housing from exposure to lead-based paint.
Under the rule, housing providers will have to control any exposure to lead-based paint, dust or soil within 30 days if the level of lead in a child under 6 reaches 5 micrograms per deciliter of blood.
Under the previous rule, remediation didn’t kick in unless a child’s blood contained at least 20 micrograms of lead per deciliter.
The rules require landlords to test the home for potential sources of the child’s lead exposure within 15 days and respond within 30 days. They must also notify HUD so the department can ensure the situation is remedied on time.
The lower standard brings HUD’s regulations in line with levels recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"Today, we're now able to say that the federal government will speak with one voice when it comes to protecting children from potentially dangerous lead," HUD Secretary Julián Castro said in a statement.
"By aligning our standard with CDC's guidance, we can respond more quickly in cases when a child who lives in federally assisted housing shows early signs of having elevated levels of lead in their blood."
Lawmakers praised HUD for finalizing the rules.
“We know there is no safe level of lead for children, yet too many families continue to live with the threat of lead exposure and its devastating consequences,” Sen. Dick DurbinDick DurbinFill the Eastern District of Virginia Senators preview bill to stop tech giants from prioritizing their own products Democrats struggle to gain steam on Biden spending plan MORE (D-Ill.) said in a statement.
“We can and must do more to protect our children and give them a fair shot at realizing their full potential. The measures announced by HUD today will undoubtedly save lives.”
Sen Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsSenators ask Biden administration to fund program that helps people pay heating bills McConnell gets GOP wake-up call Republicans are today's Dixiecrats MORE (R-Maine) said lead exposure is a "largely preventable health problem" that needs to be eradicated.
HUD expects its rule to cover about 3 million HUD-assisted housing units built before 1978, the year lead-based paint was banned for residential use. Of those units, about 500,000 are home to a child under the age of 6.