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USEPA Gets The Lead Out

By Grimaldi Law Offices Summer Associate Cecilia Grimaldi

On June 21, 2019, USEPA announced it will implement stricter standards for lead dust on floors and window sills in order to minimize exposure to young children. These standards will take effect on January 6, 2020.

The new standards, promulgated under the Toxic Substances Control Act, support the Federal Action Plan to Reduce Childhood Lead Exposures and Associated Health Impacts (Federal Action Plan). The Federal Action Plan “is a blueprint for reducing lead exposure and associated harms through collaboration among federal agencies with a range of stakeholders, including states, tribes and local communities, along with businesses, property owners and parents.” It is the product of the President’s Task Force on Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks to Children, which is composed of 17 federal departments and offices, including USEPA and the Department of Health and Human Services.

Lead standards help property owners, lead paint professionals and government agencies identify lead in residential paint, dust and soil. The prior dust-lead standards, promulgated in 2001, considered lead to be a hazard when equal to or more than 40 micrograms (µg) of lead in dust per square foot (ft²) on floors, 250µg of lead in dust per square foot on interior window sills, and 400 parts per million (ppm) of lead in bare soil in children’s play areas or 1200 ppm average for bare soil in the rest of the yard. The 2019 standards will lower those values from 40 µg/ft² and 250 µg/ft2 to 10 µg/ft² and 100 µg/ft² on floors and window sills, respectively. These more protective standards will apply to inspections, risk assessments, and abatement activities in pre-1978 housing and certain schools, childcare facilities and hospitals across the United States.

The new standards are integrated into the Section 402/404 lead-based paint activity regulations and the lead-based paint hazards trigger reporting obligations under the Section 1018 real estate disclosure regulations. Please refer to those regulations for information on compliance requirements regarding these new lead dust standards.

Grimaldi Law Offices has been advising clients for over 20 years on chemical and product regulation. For knowledgeable advice and in-depth analysis on your chemical regulatory compliance obligations, contact Grimaldi Law Offices at (415) 463-5186 or email us at [email protected].


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Ms. Grimaldi maintains a diverse environmental law practice focusing on chemical and product regulation and litigation defense. Her practice areas include Proposition 65, California's Safer Consumer Products Regulations, California's Rigid Plastic Packaging Container Act and the federal Toxic Substances Control Act. Ms. Grimaldi graduated from the University of California Hastings College of the Law magna cum laude and holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Bacteriology from University of California, Davis. Prior to attending law school, she worked as a research assistant in laboratories at the University of California, San Francisco Cancer Research Institute and at the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine.