As of April 22, 2010, federal law required that:
According to EPA, childhood lead poisoning is a serious, yet preventable environmental illness. Experts believe that blood lead levels as low as 10 micrograms per deciliter are associated with children's learning and behavioral problems. High blood lead levels cause devastating health effects, such as seizures, coma, and death. Over the past 30 years, the U.S. has made great progress in combating this disease by addressing a wide range of sources of lead exposures. The Federal government has phased out lead in gasoline, reduced lead in drinking water, and banned or limited lead use in consumer products, including toys, food cans, and residential paint. States and municipalities have initiated programs to identify and treat lead poisoned children and to rehabilitate deteriorated housing. Parents, too, greatly contributed to reducing their children's exposure to lead.
The U.S. children's blood lead levels significantly decreased during the 1970's and 1980's. However, almost one million children under six still have blood lead levels above 10 micrograms per deciliter, with a disproportionate number of them living in inner cities; thus, lead poisoning is a major concern associated with environmental justice issues. There are also significant numbers of children living in suburban and rural areas that suffer from lead poisoning.
EPA's current lead program focuses on the primary source (lead based paint) of lead-poisoning in children in the U.S. today. A 1991 report issued by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) showed that lead-based paint was used in millions of older homes and housing units in the United States. Studies showed that lead-based paint has a tendency to become incorporated in household dust as it cracks and weathers, lead paint also may chip or release particles into the air as a result of routine friction on impact surfaces (such as windows, window sills, doors). Young children may ingest the lead-contaminated dust during typical childhood behavior such as crawling on floors and then putting their fingers in their mouth or mouthing toys or other objects that are covered with contaminated dust. Some children exhibiting pica behavior (a chronic tendency of mouthing or eating non-food objects) could also swallow paint chips and be lead poisoned.
For more information on lead, its health effects, rules and regulations and EPA's lead program, please explore their website.