by Ashley Sherertz
Industrial Hygiene Technician

On January 7, 2021, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published its intent to revise the 2001 dust-lead clearance levels (DLCL) for pre-1978 constructed residences and child occupied facilities. The new change in the standards will go into effect in the first quarter of 2021. It has been over two decades since the EPA has made a revision to these standards. 

The updated standard comes after the US 9th Circuit Court ruled the EPA had not taken enough action to revise lead standards, despite all the scientific evidence the previous standards were not doing enough to reduce lead exposure in the US’s pre-1978 housing stock. “For too long, many children, especially those in low-income communities, have been exposed to unacceptable levels of lead,” said EPA Administrator Ander Wheeler.  

Effective March 8, 2021, the new standards set the clearance levels at 10 ug/ft² for floors and 100 ug/ft² for window sills. This is a significant change from the previous clearance standards of 40 ug/ft² for floors and 250 ug/ft² for window sills. Leaded dust produced from peeling or chipped paint is the primary cause of elevated blood lead levels seen in children age 6 and under. “This overdue regulation is yet another example of the commitment to reduce sources of lead exposure and to provide a healthier environment for our children,” Wheeler added. For many folks working to reduce lead exposures the change has been a long time coming.

You can read the new rule by the EPA here.  If you have any questions regarding the new lead dust standards or have lead management concerns, please contact EI Industrial Hygienist, Ashley Sherertz at (540) 492-1120 or [email protected].