Durbin, Menendez Praise Final Hud Lead Safe Housing Rule

Urge the next Administration to continue reducing lead hazards in federally-assisted housing

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ) today praised the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) final Lead Safe Housing Rule (LSHR), which revises the definition of “elevated blood lead levels” and strengthens protocols by which the Department identifies and investigates lead exposure in federally-assisted housing.
Under the new rule, HUD will lower its threshold for blood lead levels requiring Department intervention from 20 micrograms per deciliter (µg/dL) to 5 (µg/dL) to match the standard of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The rule will also enhance the Department’s assessments of lead exposure risk in cases where children are involved.
“We know there is no safe level of lead for children, yet too many families continue to live with the threat of lead exposure and its devastating consequences. We can and must do more to protect our children and give them a fair shot at realizing their full potential,” said Durbin. “The measures announced by HUD today will undoubtedly save lives. I commend Secretary Castro for updating the Department’s lead level standards and taking concrete steps toward ensuring that children living in federally-subsidized housing are adequately protected from lead exposure. I look forward to working with next HUD Secretary to build on these efforts to prevent childhood lead poisoning.”
“No child should have to grow up in a home where simply breathing could hurt them.  We can’t sit idly by while far too many children in this country are suffering from the health effects of lead poisoning, and thousands more may be vulnerable to exposure,” said Sen. Menendez.  “I applaud HUD for taking this important step towards ensuring our nation’s federally-assisted housing has the highest lead standards to limit exposure and keep families safe.  I will continue to work to advance policies that protect our children.”
Last year, Senators Durbin and Menendez joined U.S. Representatives Mike Quigley (D-IL) and Keith Ellison (D-MN) in introducing legislation to combat lead exposure and poisoning in children in federal low-income housing programs. The Department of Housing and Urban Development later unveiled a new initiative implementing many of the reforms outlined in the Lead-Safe Housing for Kids Act of 2016, including a proposed rule to update its Lead Safe Housing Rule to match the CDC standard for elevated blood lead level.
According to the National Center of Healthy Housing, an estimated 37 million older homes in the United States contain lead paint, with 23 million homes posing a significant health hazard. Approximately 3.6 million of these homes have young children. Families of color and low-income families are disproportionately hurt by lead exposure, which can lead to developmental delays and behavioral problems.