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Chemical Regulation

EPA sets new lead dust standard

The tighter limits are meant to reduce childhood exposure to the hazardous element

by Andrea Widener
June 24, 2019

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Credit: Shutterstock

At a time when it is rolling back most environmental safety regulations, the Trump administration is tightening standards for lead dust on floors and window sills in homes and child-care centers.

The rule, announced June 21, is meant to reduce childhood exposure to lead, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says can cause damage to the brain and nervous system, growth delays, and other problems at any level of exposure. First proposed in December 2018, the EPA’s final standard allows for 10 µg/ft2 (about 110 µg/m2) of lead dust on floors and 100 µg/ft2 (1,100 µg/m2) on window sills. The previous lead dust standard, updated in 2001, allowed 40 µg/ft2 (430 µg/m2) on floors and 250 µg/ft2 (2,700 µg/m2) on windows.

“Today’s final rule is the first time in nearly two decades EPA is issuing a stronger, more protective standard for lead dust in homes and child care facilities across the country,” EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler said in a statement. The rule becomes effective in 180 days.

Earlier this month, EPA sent a newly proposed rule to limit lead and copper in drinking water to the White House for review before releasing it for public comment.

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