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 Proposal – Lead Paint Remediation in Dwellings

Note: EPA no longer updates this information, but it may be useful as a reference or resource.


Environmental Problem Statement


Team Members

Progress Report (PDF) (2 pp, 24 KB) August 2006

Lead is a toxic metal that may cause a range of health effects, from behavioral problems and learning disabilities to seizures and death. Children six years old and under are most at risk; 434,000 children in the United States, aged one to five, are estimated to have elevated blood-lead levels.1

Exposure to lead usually occurs because of the presence of deteriorating lead-based paint (LBP), lead-contaminated dust (particularly from renovations), and lead-contaminated residential soil. Apartments and homes with lead paint are frequently located in communities and transitional neighborhoods where attention to environmental problems may not be at the forefront and where controlling expense is critical. According to a national Department of Housing and Urban Development survey, 38 million homes have LBP and 24 million homes have significant lead hazards (i.e., lead in paint, dust, or soil).2

EPA Regions enforce the Residential LBP Disclosure Rule §1018 of Title X. For conducting LBP activities in target housing and child-occupied facilities, the regions and authorized states and tribes enforce the Toxics Substance Control Act (TSCA) §406(b), Pre-Renovation Education Rule, and TSCA §402, Training and Certification Rule.

There are issues of noncompliance for all of these rules. The lead hazards that may be created during renovation and remodeling are a major public health concern. About 26 million renovations are conducted annually in pre-1978 homes that contain LBP.3 Large amounts of lead dust are produced by most of these renovation activities; traditional cleaning methods often leave hazardous levels of lead dust.

Definition of the Technology Challenge

Early detection – the development of simple, inexpensive, and sufficiently reliable detection technologies that residents and owners can use to identify the presence of lead in paint, dust, and soil with respect to TSCA’s §403 definition of LBP hazards (§745.65). Specific interests include:

  • Developing spot test kits that, when used by nonprofessional testers, can determine the presence or absence of LBP
  • Identifying new or emerging technologies that can serve as the basis for low-cost, reliable, and easy-to-use methods for detecting LBP and lead hazards in dust and soil
  • Fostering the development and implementation of these technologies

Abatement – the identification and development of efficient and cost-effective technologies for stabilizing or removing LBP while minimizing the creation of lead dust. Specific interests include:

  • Developing efficient equipment that generates little dust and debris for abatement, renovation, and remodeling
  • Reducing the number of recommended dust cleanup steps from three to one or two
  • Improving the efficiency of dust cleanup methods so that passing clearance is a near certainty
  • Determining whether non-HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) vacuums can be used instead of HEPA vacuums for dust cleanup; if so, remove institutional barriers to the use of non-HEPA vacuums

Eliminating barriers to new and portable testing technologies – ensuring that new technologies and portable analytical instruments are incorporated in the National Lead Laboratory Accreditation Program (NLLAP) while ensuring that the standards are as protective and stringent as the standards that apply to fixed laboratories. This includes the development of reference materials for analysis and sampling methods for portable analytical instruments and new technologies, and exploring the possibility of lowering the NLLAP fees for portable analytical instruments. Work is currently underway by EPA’s Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics (OPPT) to expand the NLLAP criteria to address the use of portable analytical systems for lead testing. To support this expansion, OPPT has submitted a proposal to EPA’s Office of Research and Development (ORD) for assistance in the development of LBP proficiency test samples for new technologies, including portable analytical systems.

Other Guiding Principles

The Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) requires agencies to report to Congress each year on progress toward their strategic goals. Under GPRA, agencies set annual performance goals and establish measures to determine how well they are achieving those goals. To that end, EPA’s Goal #4: Healthy Communities and Ecosystems4 guides this Action Team as it works to eliminate LBP as a hazard and eliminate all instances of children with elevated blood-lead levels.

The growing body of scientific information demonstrates that America’s children suffer more than adults from environmental health risks and safety risks. Each federal agency is required to identify, assess, and address the environmental health and safety risks to children. The President's 2000 Task Force was created and charged with recommending strategies for protecting children’s environmental health and safety. The following 2010 goals5 of the task force guide this Action Team:

  • By 2010, eliminate lead paint hazards in housing where children under six years of age live
  • By 2010, elevated blood lead levels (above or equal to 10 micrograms per deciliter) in children will be eliminated through increased compliance with existing policies concerning blood lead screening and increased coordination among federal, state, and local agencies responsible for outreach, education, technical assistance, and data collection related to lead screening and abatement

Milestones, Actions, and Due Dates

No. Milestone Due Date
1 Expanded criteria for NLLAP that will address the barriers to using portable testing technologies for clearance after lead abatement June 2005
2 Demonstration of Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program Phase II lead abatement technology through Supplemental Enforcement Projects (SEP) in New England Summer 2005
3 SBIR funding for technologies to address early detection and abatement Fall 2005
Milestone No. Action Due Date
  Gather information on "dustless" lead abatement technologies. Ongoing (completion date not to exceed 3 years from start date)
  Develop SBIR topics. January 2005 (completion date not to exceed 3 years from start date)
  Determine whether ORD is going to fund OPPT's request for the lead paint proficiency test samples. February 2005 (completion date not to exceed 3 years from start date)
  Meet with Massachusetts state agencies to discuss the demonstration of the SBIR Phase II lead abatement technology. February 2005 (completion date not to exceed 3 years from start date)
  Make sure that Regions 1 and 5 review the expanded NLLAP criteria. February 2005 (completion date not to exceed 3 years from start date)
  Participate in the stakeholder meetings to review the criteria. February 2005 (completion date not to exceed 3 years from start date)

Required Resources

A contractor to record the minutes for the Action Team meetings and keep an updated "To Do" list for the team.

Funding for the development of lead paint proficiency test samples for new technologies, including portable analytical systems. Request submitted to ORD.


  1. Meyer, P.A., T. Pivetz, T.A. Dignam, et al. (2003). "Surveillance for Elevated Blood Lead Levels Among Children - United States, 1997-2001." Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 52, SS10: 1–21, September.
  2. Jacobs, D.E., R.P. Clickner, J.Y. Zhou, et al. (2002). “The Prevalence of Lead-Based Paint Hazards in U.S. Housing Exit EPA Disclaimer.” Environmental Health Perspectives, 110,10: A599-A606, October.
  3. Department of Housing and Urban Development. (2001). "National Survey of Lead and Allergens in Housing (PDF) Exit EPA Disclaimer." (145 pp, 1.22 MB) (American Housing Survey 1997, Section 2.3.1, Table 2.1).
  4. U.S. EPA. (2003). "2003–2008 EPA Strategic Plan: Direction for the Future (PDF)" (239 pp, 4.75 MB) (EPA/190/R-03/003) September.
  5. President's Task Force. (2000) “Eliminating Childhood Lead Poisoning: A Federal Strategy Targeting Lead Paint Hazards (PDF).” (91 pp, 1.5 MB) President’s Task Force on Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks to Children. February.

See Also

Environmental Justice

Government Performance and Results Act

National Lead Laboratory Accreditation Program

Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics (OPPT)

President's Task Force on Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks to Children

Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program

Toxic Substances Control Act


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