Academic journal article Environmental Health Perspectives

The Prevalence of Lead-Based Paint Hazards in U.S. Housing. (Children's Health Articles)

Academic journal article Environmental Health Perspectives

The Prevalence of Lead-Based Paint Hazards in U.S. Housing. (Children's Health Articles)

Article excerpt

In this study we estimated the number of homing units in the United States with lead-based paint and lead-based paint hazards. We included measurements of lead in intact and deteriorated paint, interior dust, and bare soil. A nationally representative, random sample of 831 housing units was evaluated in a survey between 1998 and 2000; the units and their occupants did not differ significantly from nationwide characteristics. Results indicate that 38 million housing units had lead-based paint, down from the 1990 estimate of 64 million. Twenty-four million had significant lead-based paint hazards. Of those with hazards, 1.2 million units housed low-income families (< $30,000/year) with children under 6 years of age. Although 17% of government-supported, low-income homing had hazards, 35% of all low-income homing had hazards. For households with incomes [greater than or equal to] $30,000/year, 19% had hazards. Fourteen percent of all houses had significantly deteriorated lead-based paint, and 16% and 7%, respectively, had dust lead and soil lead levels above current standards of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The prevalence of lead-based paint and hazards increases with age of housing, but most painted surfaces, even in older homing, do not have lead-based paint. Between 2% and 25% of painted building components were coated with lead-based paint. Housing in the Northeast and Midwest had about twice the prevalence of hazards compared with housing in the South and West. The greatest risk occurs in older units with lead-based paint hazards that either will be or are currently occupied by families with children under 6 years of age and are low-income and/or are undergoing renovation or maintenance that disturbs lead-based paint. This study also confirms projections made in 2000 by the President's Task Force on Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks to Children of the number of houses with lead-based paint hazards. Public- and private-sector resources should be directed to units posing the greatest risk if future lead poisoning is to be prevented. Key words: childhood lead poisoning, housing, housing survey, lead, lead-based paint, lead paint, lead poisoning prevention. Environ

Health Perspect 110:A599-A606 (2002). [Online 13 September 2002] http://ehpnet1.niehs.nih.gov/docs/2002/110pA599-A606jacobs/abstract.html

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Lead is highly toxic, especially to young children. Excessive exposure causes reduced intelligence, impaired hearing, reduced stature, and many other adverse health effects (NAS 1993). The effects of lead toxicity have been well established, with clear evidence of harm found in children whose blood lead levels are above 10 [micro]g/dL and some evidence that harm may occur at lower levels (CDC 1991; Lanphear et al. 2000; NAS 1993; Schwartz 1994; U.S. EPA 1990). A large body of evidence shows that a common source of lead exposure for children today is lead-based paint hazards in older housing and the contaminated dust and soil it generates (Bornschein et al. 1987; Clark et al. 1991; Jacobs 1995; Lanphear et al. 1995, 1998; Lanphear and Roghmann 1997; McElvaine et al. 1992; Rabinowitz et al. 1985; Shannon and Graef 1992), although other sources can be significant. Poisoning from lead-based paint has affected millions of children since this problem was first recognized more than 100 years ago (Gibson 1904; Turner 1897).

Children are exposed to lead from paint through two major pathways: either directly by eating paint chips (McElvaine et al. 1992) or indirectly by ingesting lead-contaminated house dust or soil through normal hand-to-mouth contact (Bornschein et al. 1987; Duggan and Inskip 1985; Lanphear and Roghmann 1997). Recent studies indicate that dust lead is the strongest predictor of childhood blood lead levels (Duggan and Inskip 1985; Lanphear et al. …

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