On July 9th, EPA amended regulations regarding lead dust testing. This amendment significantly reduces the threshold for determining lead paint hazards from 40 micrograms to 10 micrograms per square foot on floors, and 250 micrograms to 100 micrograms per square foot on window sills.
The recent July regulation goes into effect January 6, 2020. Housing providers will most likely come across these standards if they have had a Risk Assessment performed to assess lead paint hazards, under the Guidelines for the Evaluation and Control of Lead-based Paint Hazards in Housing. Risk Assessments are covered under Chapter 5.
The new rule does not change the definition of “lead free” . Nor does it seem to change standards for testing for the presence of lead paint under Chapter 7 of the Guidelines. Still, the new rules likely will affect existing conclusions, tests and reports for determining whether there are actionable levels of lead dust and lead paint hazards.
Housing providers should check their existing lead-based paint reports to see if the reports call out areas with lead dust between the old and new new thresholds. Housing providers should also consider performing new reports and pursuing new remediation.
Similar to the federal agencies noted above, New York City adopted changes to lead inspection standards. Indeed, in some respects, New York’s standards are more aggressive. As of June 11th, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene moved forward with the City’s new lower lead dust standards. Among other things, the new standard lowers thresholds to 5 micrograms for floors and 50 micrograms for window sills. Again, it is important for housing providers to see if properties thought to be in compliance now come in above the new thresholds for lead hazards, and examine appropriate remediation steps required.