Reasons Lead Paint Was Banned in the United States

January 19, 2023 12:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Lead is considered to be a dangerously toxic metal. It can cause a wide range of health problems. These problems are most noticeable in young children. In the US, it is estimated that 50% of children under six years old have noticeable amounts of lead in their blood. The EPA has determined that no safe amount of lead can be present in the blood, so all lead is dangerous at any level.

How are children exposed to lead? The most common way children are exposed to lead through lead-based paint. This type of paint was used often in residential housing in the past. Because of increasing evidence that lead has negative health effects on children, the use of lead paint has been banned. This quick guide will provide you with more information on what’s dangerous about lead paint and what health concerns are there regarding lead paint.

When Was Lead Paint Banned?

New York City was the first state to ban lead pain in 1960. Specifically, the amended health code stated that lead paint could not be sold. This applied to paint used specifically for indoor or residential use. This city health code did not affect the use of lead paint in other areas of New York state or in other states in the US.

It wasn’t until 1970 that New York state banned the sale of lead-based paint. Remember, these bans only applied to the sale of paint in those areas. The paint could still be purchased elsewhere and still be used in the state.

In 1971 the US took Federal action against lead paint. First, the Federal government banned the use of lead paint in public housing. The paint could still be sold and used in private homes and other types of structures.  

In 1978, the government took more action by banning the sale of lead-based paint that contained certain amounts of lead.  

Is Lead Paint Still a Problem Today?

Yes, lead-based paint is still a threat to children today. The reason for this is that the bans enacted primarily banned the sale of the paint, rather than the possession or use of it. The actions also did not address the preexisting paint in millions of homes, and it still remains in many homes today.

The EPA estimates that 87% of older homes, those built before 1940, still have lead paint present. Homes built after 1940 have fewer instances of the presence of lead-based paint. The legislation effectively reduced the use of this toxic material, but it did not cut the threat of exposure entirely.

What Can I Do To Prevent Exposure?

If you are occupying or purchasing a home, you should have the home tested for lead-based paint. There are professionals who can help you do this.

If your home does have lead-based paint, there are steps you can take to have the paint removed and have the structure repainted.

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