Lead Remains a Problem

Children from all social and economic strata can be affected.

The key is stopping children from coming into contact with lead and treating children who have been poisoned by lead. Some health care providers do not perceive lead poisoning to be a problem in their community and therefore do not routinely screen their pediatric population or test at-risk children, even when a parent requests that a child be tested. A lack of knowledge about lead poisoning and its causes often delays parents from having their children tested or from taking appropriate safety measures. There is no safe level of lead in the human body, ever.

Recently, there has been much attention focused by the media on the increasing number of foreign imports coming into the United States being tainted with dangerous levels of lead. This has been alarming especially when these imports consist of toys and other products used primarily by children. However, today the primary lead hazard to children comes from lead-based paint. In recognition of the danger that lead-based paint presents to children, such paint was banned for residential use nationwide in 1978. This ban has effectively reduced the risk of lead exposure for children who live in houses built after 1978, but any house built before 1978 may still contain leaded paint. The highest risk for children is found in houses built before 1950, when paints contained a very high percentage of lead.

HUD estimates that homes built prior to 1940 have over a 90 percent chance of containing lead-based paint. If you see peeling paint in your old home, or if you plan to remove or disturb old paint, you should have it tested for the presence of lead, and you should take care in removing it.

In 1992, Congress included the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act, commonly called Title X. HUD developed guidelines on risk assessments, inspections, interim controls and abatement of lead-based paint hazards. Since September 1996, all buyers of pre-1978 housing must be given a warning and up to 10 days to get a lead hazard inspection of assessment. The sales contract must disclose the presence of known lead-based paint. Since September 1996, landlord must disclose the presence of known lead-based paint hazards to prospective lessors of pre-1978 housing.

Lead is certainly an issue in this area, and this program continues to significantly reduce lead hazards in its housing stock. Targeting these urban revitalization areas has been successful largely through partnerships with Community-based Organizations. The program goals include: creating lead-safe housing, decreasing the number of children with elevated blood lead levels, and providing general overall environmental improvements and a continual education process for families living within the City.

City of New Haven Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program

City of New Haven
Health Department
Bureau of Environmental Health
54 Meadow Street, 9th Floor
New Haven, CT 06519
(203) 946-8174