Lead Hazards in the Home

Lead can be found in paint, dust, soil, water pipes, food, workplaces, and hobby materials. But of all the possible sources, lead from chipped and peeling lead-based paint in, on, and around our homes is the greatest source of lead poisoning.

Paint applied before 1978 very likely contained now-banned lead additives. Those older painted surfaces today that are chipping or peeling are particularly hazardous. Windows, doorframes, steps, porches and other friction areas where chipped paint is likely to be found are also of great concern. Children are at higher risk both because they are on the ground and may get dust on their hands and put their hands in their mouth and because of the nature of their still-developing bodies.

You should know that there are federal requirements related to pre-1978 homes and there are steps one can take to live lead-safe, even in a home with lead.

If You Have Questions About Lead That Are Not Addressed Here

Call the LEAD LINE (503) 988-4000

More articles and information about lead in homes in PDF.








 

What Landlords Don't Know About Lead

FHCO surveyed over 500 landlords to assess lead awareness. Seventy-three percent indicated they owned or managed pre-1978 properties (over 9700 individual units, in fact) and almost all (91%) knew that lead was highly dangerous, especially for young children. However, far fewer knew other important information about lead in housing:

  • 41% are still not aware that HUD / EPA have required disclosure in all units built prior to 1978 (including use of a specific brochure on the subject) prior to many repairs or renovations made to pre-78 properties since 2008.
  • 25% still don’t know that HUD and EPA have also required lead disclosure (with use of a different brochure) prior to contract since 1996.
  • 50% still didn't know HUD / EPA has required that many repairs or renovations be done by a certified lead-safe contractor since 2010.
  • 37% still don’t know it has been illegal under the federal Fair Housing Act to deny housing to an applicant simply because there are children in the household (even in pre-1978 properties) since 1988.

How Does this Relate to Fair Housing?

Federal, state and local fair housing laws make it illegal to discriminate in the rental, sale, , appraisal or financing, insuring, building and construction or the land use regulations, zoning and advertising of housing.

At least two relevant protected classes under fair housing laws come into play: familial status and disability.

Familial Status as a Protected Class

Although lead poisoning is especially dangerous for kids, the fear of poisoning or liability does not give housing providers the right to deny or discourage families with children away from pre-1978 using. Familial status is a protected class under federal fair housing law and doing anything to deny or discourage otherwise qualified families is illegal. There are, in fact, fair housing cases on the books related to just this topic and those housing providers who attempted to steer families away from older housing stock fearing harm or liability around lead-based paint have lost.

Case Law

Disability as a Protected Class

In at least one case, a New York household filed a complaint with HUD after being denied housing because one of the family members had been previously poisoned by lead resulting in a disability. 

If You Have Questions About Lead That Are Not Addressed Here

Call the LEAD LINE (503) 988-4000