Lax Lead Paint Rules Endanger Children, Green Groups Say

Bloomberg Law

National – EPA has failed to update the definition of lead-based paint, leaving children at risk of lead poisoning, environmental and community groups will argue before the Ninth Circuit Tuesday. The EPA issued a final rule in July 2019 that included the definition and lowered the level at which dust containing lead is considered a hazard, but those dust-lead hazard standards are still too high to protect the public, the Sierra Club, California Communities Against Toxics, and other environmental groups say in their petition for review in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.  

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HUD Awards $9M to Making Homes Safer for Tribal Communities

Washington, DC – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) today awarded more than $9 million in Healthy Homes Production grants to twelve tribes and tribal agencies to protect children and families from home health and safety hazards. Tribes and Tribally Designated Housing conditions can be improved by addressing factors such as lead paint, indoor air quality and ventilation, heating devices, and moisture damage. The grant funding announced will assist and protect families by targeting health hazards in the homes of 630 low-income families where significant home health and safety hazards exist. 

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Lead Based Paint Inspections in NYC Just Got Tougher

Habitat Magazine

by Kathryn Farrell
New York, NY – The city has enacted stricter regulations on detecting lead-based paint inside apartments – yet another item for the to-do lists of some co-op and condo boards and their management companies. Local Law 31, which went into effect on Aug. 9, requires an X-ray fluorescence (XRF) analyzer inspection to be performed within the next five years in certain apartments. The XRF test must be performed by an inspector certified by the Environmental Protection Agency who has no relation to either the board or the company that does the building’s lead-remediation work. 

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Fresh Evidence of Nyc’s Deadly Lead Paint Lies

New York Post

New York, NY – Documents coughed up under the Freedom Of Information Law again show that the de Blasio administration downplayed the true scale and scope of lead exposure crisis in public housing. From 2010 to ’18, city health inspectors found lead in 222 NYCHA units across 93 developments — more than a quarter of all complexes citywide. Experts say that finding lead in one apartment meant the poison likely was present throughout the building. Yet NYCHA leaders opted to avoid costly remediation by challenging findings — successfully, in 158 cases. 

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Low Income and Predominantly Latino Neighborhoods in Santa Ana Affected by Toxic Lead, Report Says

LA Time

by Ben Brazil
Santa Ana, CA – There are potentially unhealthy levels of lead in low-income and predominately Latino neighborhoods in Santa Ana, a new report finds. Local organization Orange County Environmental Justice partnered with UC Irvine and other community members over the last three years for the study. The coalition analyzed more than 1,500 soil samples from more than 500 locations, finding that the samples ranged from 11.4 to 2,687 parts per million, with an average soil sample of 123.1 ppm. The California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment considers anything above 80 ppm in a residential area as hazardous to health. About half of the soil samples exceeded the California safety recommendation. 

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EPA Proposal Strengthens Regulations and Protects Children from Exposure to Lead-Contaminated Dust

Washington, DC – The EPA released a proposal Wednesday to reduce the amount of lead that can remain in dust on floors and windowsills after lead removal activities to better protect children from the harmful effects of lead exposure. The proposed, tighter standards would increase the effectiveness of work done to remove lead-based paint hazards in pre-1978 homes and childcare facilities, known as abatement, and lower the risk of lead exposure by ensuring that lead-based paint hazards are effectively and permanently eliminated following completion of the work.

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Moline Business Fined by EPA Over Lead Paint


Davenport, IA – EPA has reached a settlement with a Moline busines for its failure to provide proper disclosure of lead paint at residential properties in Davenport. The EPA says Selby Enterprises LLC will pay a penalty and complete an environmentally beneficial project for its violations of the Real Estate Notification and Disclosure Rules under the federal Toxic Substances Control Act.The matter was referred to EPA by the Scott County Health Department. The company has also agreed to complete abatement and clearance testing of lead-based paint at a Davenport house built in 1905, through a certified lead abatement contractor at the cost of $14,250. 

GAO: HUD Should Strengthen Physical Inspection of Properties and Oversight of Lead Paint Hazards

US Government Accountability Office

Washington, DC – By the end of 2018, over 4 million low-income households were being served by the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s three largest rental assistance programs. HUD must ensure that housing units provided under these programs are safe and sanitary. However, in this statement for the congressional record we reported that HUD needs to improve its efforts to address lead paint hazards in these housing units as well as its process for inspecting properties to identify physical problems.

EPA Ordered to Take Action on Protecting Children from Lead Based Paint

A federal appeals court is ordering the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to take action within 90 days to revise standards meant to protect children from lead-based paint. The San Francisco-based Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit ruled Wednesday that the EPA has taken too long to act on a 2009 petition from health and environmental groups who want the agency to further restrict lead paint limitations. The judges issued a “writ of mandamus,” a rare edict from a federal court that requires a litigant to take action.

The EPA told the court that it would take another six years to develop a lead paint rule, which the judges did not accept. “EPA fails to identify a single case where a court has upheld an eight year delay as reasonable, let alone a fourteen year delay, if we take into account the six more years EPA asserts it needs to take action,” Judge Mary Schroeder, nominated by former President Carter, wrote on behalf of herself and Judge Randy Smith, a George W. Bush nominee. The judges said the EPA also has an unambiguous duty to act. Scientific studies point toward a higher danger to children from lead paint than when Congress developed standards in the 1990s, studies that the EPA did not dispute.

“Under the [Toxic Substances Control Act] and the Paint Hazard Act, Congress set EPA a task, authorized EPA to engage in rulemaking to accomplish that task, and set up a framework for EPA to amend initial rules and standards in light of new information,” the judges said. “The new information is clear in this record: the current standards for dust-lead hazard and lead-based paint hazard are insufficient to accomplish Congress’s goal.”

An EPA spokesman said the agency would review the Wednesday ruling, and pledged that officials would “continue to work diligently on a number of fronts to address issues surrounding childhood lead exposure from multiple sources.” The EPA has declared lead poisoning to be the greatest environmental hazard to children under age six. The agency agreed in 2009 to accept public comments on the lead petition and to initiate a rule-making, but did not set a time period for the rule-making. The judges ordered the EPA to propose a new rule within 90 days and make a final rule within a year after that.

Consumer Groups File Petition to Ban Lead Acetate in Hair Dyes

Popular men’s cosmetic products are raising concerns over a potentially harmful ingredient. Lead acetate can be found in Grecian Formula and Youthair hair dye products in the U.S. Consumer groups filed a petition to the FDA to crack down on this lead compound, which is a known neurotoxin. For nearly a decade, Europe and Canada have banned the sale of these same products because they contained lead acetate, and those manufacturers offer consumers in those countries a lead-free alternative. So then why are American consumers still able to purchase these products? If the petition is successful, that may change, reports CBS News correspondent Anna Werner. Richard Gandolf didn’t like going gray. So for the past 20 years, the 73-year-old retired civil servant has been using a cream from Youthair that turns his gray hair dark. Grecian Formula is another, familiar from those 1980s TV commercials. “I think the gray’s going. Slowly. Gradually. And no one is noticing,” the ad said.

Something the ads don’t mention, however, is that both of those products contain lead acetate, a lead compound which the CDC lists as a possible carcinogen. The ingredient can be harmful, especially to children. Consumer groups including the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) are now asking the FDA to get the lead acetate out. “We want FDA to remove its approval for lead acetate as a color additive in hair dyes,” EDF’s Tom Neltner said. Manufacturers of the products tell consumers to only use the dye on their hair, but not all follow directions.

One 2014 study in the Journal of Clinical Neuromuscular Disease documents the case of one man who used progressive hair dye with lead acetate to color his beard and had “numbness and tingling” in “both feet and hands” for seven months. “He was very surprised that there was lead in his product and he stopped the product the moment he discovered that there was lead in it,” the study’s author, Dr. Wissam Deeb, said. But lead acetate is a much bigger concern for children. Government health authorities warn “do not allow children to touch hair colored with lead-containing dyes” because the compounds “can rub off onto their hands and be transferred to their mouths.”

“When you use it in the real world, it’s going to be lead on the soap dispenser. Lead on the faucet. Lead on the counter and kids will get exposed to it that way,” Neltner said. The company that owns Grecian Formula, Combe, declined an on-camera interview but told us in a statement that the data on hand-to-mouth transmission of lead is “insufficient” and “lead acetate has been used safely as a color additive in ‘progressive’ hair dye products for decades based on extensive scientific studies.” The FDA does currently approve the use of lead acetate in these products. We also reached out to American Industries International, the manufacturer of Youthair products, but did not receive a response. Youthair does offer a lead-free alternative product in the U.S.

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