Lead-based Paint & Children

Child eating paint chips on an old window frame.

Your child’s doctor has notified you that your child has elevated blood lead levels.

The blood test will trigger a notice to the building department that will usually issue a Notice of Violation (NOV) to the building owner.

The purpose of this post is not to discuss the well-known health effects of lead in children or to give advice of getting the lead out of your child.

The owner will probably need to correct all peeling and flaking paint inside and outside. Sometimes garden dirt is also included, but this is rare.

Why This Happens

Doors and windows have “friction points” (see the arrows above) where lead-based paint rubs against another surface that may or may not have lead-based paint. Lead dust is created by windows scraping through paint layers when windows are opened or closed. This dust settles into the window sill area. This also happens with doors.

Outside, lead paint flakes off the building and falls on the walkways.

Lead is sweet; that’s why children chew on a porch rails and window sashes.

What Tenants Can Do

Use a Swiffer-type mop or water on a paper towel and use it morning and night on the window sills and troughs and by door entries.

This paragraph should have been included with your lease if your building was built before 1979 unless the entire interior has been remodeled at a later date.

Recommended Report Language On Disclosure For Use In Lead-Based Paint Inspections:

“A copy of this summary must be provided to new lessees (tenants) and purchasers of this property under Federal law (24 CFR part 35 and 40 CFR part 745) before they become obligated under a lease or sales contract. The complete report must also be provided to new purchasers, and it must be made available to new tenants. Landlords (lessors) and sellers are also required to distribute an educational pamphlet approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and include standard warning language in their leases or sales contracts to ensure that parents have the information they need to protect their children from lead-based paint hazards.”

See Section IV of Chapter 7 of the HUD Guidelines for further details