CDC reports large number of children exposed to dangerous levels of lead

When a house is built or remodeled, there are a number of environmental factors that can affect those working in the building and individuals who live in the residence. One factor that does not receive as much attention these days, but that continues to be a serious problem, is the presence of lead-based paint.

Lead-based paint was primarily used in homes that were built prior to 1978. Before then, researchers believed that children were not at risk if the level of lead in their blood was less than 60 micrograms per deciliter. Consequently, lead-based paint was used during the construction of many homes across the country.

Since then, experts have determined that the standard for lead found in the blood should be significantly lower, as it can have serious consequences for children even at low levels. Recently, the acceptable level was lowered to 5 micrograms per deciliter.

Based on the new standards, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has estimated that approximately 535,000 children in the United States are in jeopardy of suffering permanent harm as a result of lead. When children are exposed to even small amounts of lead, the ensuing symptoms can be severe, including:

  • Lowered IQ or mental retardation.
  • Behavioral disorders, such as attention deficit disorder.
  • Behavioral problems.

When an older home is remodeled, there are steps contractors follow to ensure dust from lead-based paint is contained as much as possible. These steps are important, as even a small amount of dust can negatively affect children.

Contractors can safely identify and remediate lead-based paint

Under the Environmental Protection Agency's Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule, contractors are required to take precautions to limit the amount of dust and chips from lead-based paint that are released during the construction project. The rule applies to contractors who perform renovation, repair or painting jobs in certain buildings that were built prior to 1978, including:

  • Homes.
  • Child care facilities.
  • Pre-schools.

In such cases, contractors must receive certification from the EPA. In addition, those performing the job must have received training to ensure they understand how to work safely with lead and the workers must be certified.

These regulations are intended to protect both the individuals performing the job and those who inhabit the building being renovated.

If your construction firm is facing legal issues due to the handling of lead-based paint, seeking the advice of an experienced construction law attorney is a wise step to ensure your rights are protected.