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Release Date: 12/26/2000
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As part of EPA’s ongoing efforts to protect children from lead poisoning, the Agency today announced tough, new standards to identify dangerous levels of lead in paint, dust and soil. These new national standards are more protective than previous EPA guidance and will, for the first time, provide home owners, school and playground administrators, childcare providers and others with standards to protect children from hazards posed by lead, including children in federally-owned housing.

Under these new standards, federal agencies, including Housing and Urban Development, as well as state, local and tribal governments will have new uniform benchmarks on which to base remedial actions taken to safeguard children and the public from the dangers of lead. These standards will also apply to other Federal lead provisions, such as EPA’s real estate disclosure requirements presently in place for people selling or renting a home or apartment. These hazard standards will also serve as general guidance for other EPA programs engaged in toxic waste cleanups. In addition, these standards will provide landlords, parents, and childcare providers with specific levels on which to make informed decisions regarding lead found in their homes, yards, or play areas.

“Lead poisoning continues to be one of the most serious environmental threats to the children of this country,” said EPA Administrator Carol Browner. “These new standards provide important information to help all Americans better protect our children from the threats from lead. Parents who have their homes checked for lead, for example, will know if they need to take action to lower levels. This marks another important part of the commitment of the Clinton-Gore Administration to protect the health of our most vulnerable citizens – our children.”

Health problems from exposure to lead can include profound developmental and neurological impairment in children. Lead poisoning has been linked to mental retardation, poor academic performance and juvenile delinquency. Nearly one million children in America today have dangerously elevated levels of lead in their blood. Because of the potential dangers, any exposure to deteriorated lead-based paint presents a hazard.

Under the new standards, lead is considered a hazard if there are greater than: 40 micrograms of lead in dust per square foot on floors; 250 micrograms of lead in dust per square foot on interior window sills and 400 parts per million (ppm) of lead in bare soil in children’s play areas or 1200 ppm average for bare soil in the rest of the yard.

Identifying lead hazards through these standards will allow inspectors and risk assessors to assist property owners in deciding how to address problems which may include lead paint abatement, covering or removing soil or professional cleaning of lead dust.

Today’s action will appear soon in the Federal Register and at More information is available through the National Lead Information Center at 800-424-LEAD(5323).

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