Lead paint: A continuing risk to children

Reducing the most significant lead hazard in America

Lead-based paint remains the primary source of lead exposure to the approximately 500,000 children1 with elevated blood lead levels. Poor and minority children remain at the greatest risk. EDF is committed to reducing this threat.

Current policies and practices don't reflect the latest research about the hazards of lead paint. We need to modernize our approach and ensure that renovators and painters comply with the rules and uses lead-safe work practices – so there is no lead dust left after paint is disturbed and the renovation is complete.

  • 24 millionU.S. homes that still have lead hazards in paint, dust or soil2

Update lead prevention policies

  • Revise federal standards for lead paint, dust and soil hazards. In 2009, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) committed to updating these lead hazard standards. After a court ordered a decision, EPA issued a rule in June 2019 that failed to update the definition of lead-based paint and soil hazards and created new problems for lead dust hazards. The rule is being challenged in court and EPA is working to fix the newest problems it created.
  • Expand and strengthen protections for those most vulnerable. Current Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) regulations for federally-subsidized housing are inadequate. Federal rules for this housing must be strengthened to address the risks of lead paint; do more to prevent lead exposures; and to help those kids who are exposed.
  • Improve industry compliance with lead-safe practices. Health officials and building code departments need to enforce requirements that only qualified contractors disturb lead-based paint and they use lead-safe work practices. These practices were developed to protect children and are the best means for safely renovating a home. But they only work when they are followed.
  1. "Blood Lead Levels in Children Aged 1–5 Years — United States, 1999–2010" (Center for Disease Control and Prevention)
  2. "Healthy People 2020" (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)