Interview With 265
One way HUD could address this issue is by sending out a contractor to every home built
before a certain year. An overwhelming majority of homes that contain lead based paint were
built before 1978, the year that Congress prohibited the use of lead based paints in homes. The
earlier a house was built relative to 1978, the higher the likelihood that the home contains lead
based paints. For that reason, a possible measure could be for HUD to investigate all child-housing homes that are old enough. For example, homes built before 1940 would have a higher
likelihood of containing lead based paint, and thus present a significant danger to children living
in them. Therefore, those houses should be prioritized, and should be categorically investigated
by HUD regardless of whether any lead has been found in a child’s bloodstream.
Unfortunately, the issue then becomes whether this is cost effective. Though there is no
direct data to show the cost of such an action, that cost still needs to be considered. If order to
help mitigate the cost of such an action certain homes built in certain years should be HUD’s
priority. Regardless of the solution, HUD should begin to, at bare minimum, educate the
homeowners on the dangers inherent in those homes to rally more support around this issue.
Thanks to Professor Benfer, Professor Gold, and the many advocates who contributed to
the petition, HUD’s standards now align with the modern medical and safety sensibilities set by
the CDC. However, there are still a frighteningly large number of homes around the United
States that contain dangerous levels of lead paint. In some of these home children, who may eat
that paint and gravely injure themselves. Though the Lead Safe Housing rule enables HUD to
react if dangerous levels of paint are found in a child’s bloodstream, it does not prevent that child
from ingesting that paint in the first place. Proactively addressing this problem may prove very
costly, and the true extent of that cost is not currently known. However, there ought to be no
greater moral goal, or social desire, than to ensure the health and safety of this nation’s children.
Therefore, though the update Lead Safe Housing Rule is an achievement deserve great praise and
gratitude, it brings to light the true objective: to remove lead paint from every home in America
to secure safer and healthier children because, as Professor Benfer concluded in the interview,
“our children deserve nothing less”.
Lead, CDC, https://www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/
Micheal Hawthorne, Durbin Urges Action on Lead Threat to Children, THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE,
Jan 26, 2016 http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-durbin-hud-letter-20160126-story.html
Dean Reynolds, Fear of Lead Paint in HUD Housing Leads Family to Homeless Shelter, CBS
NEWS, June 21, 2016 http://www.cbsnews.com/news/chicago-mom-chooses-homelessness-over-hud-housing-to-protect-son-from-lead-paint/
Blood Lead Levels in Children, CDC,