Lead paint abatement programs
Local governments can invest in this strategy using State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).
- This strategy can help promote healthy living environments. The U.S. Department of Treasury has indicated that strategies that help achieve this outcome are eligible for the use of Fiscal Recovery Funds.
- Investments in this strategy are SLFRF-eligible as long as they are made in qualified census tracts or are designed to assist populations or communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.
Reducing exposure to lead: Lead-based paint abatement programs assist property owners with containing and/or removing lead-based paint from residential properties. Such programs aim to reduce lead exposure in children, which can lead to learning, behavioral, and other developmental problems.
Conducting inspections to identify hazards: As part of a lead abatement program, property owners may be required to take steps to reduce the risk of lead exposure in their rental properties. These steps may include conducting annual inspections of the condition of paint in their units; performing specialized cleaning of high-risk surfaces, like window sills; and providing written information about lead-based paint hazards to tenants. Local governments may also require property owners to meet lead safety standards in order to receive a certificate of occupancy for their property.
Containing and removing lead-based paint: Lead paint abatement programs may offer property owners financial assistance to contain lead-based paint. Typically, containment involves ensuring paint is in good condition and properly cleaning units after any renovations. In some cases, abatement programs may offer assistance to property owners interested in removing lead-based paint, though this approach is more costly.
Collaborating across stakeholders: Lead paint abatement programs are typically run by local governments. However, some communities have created non-profit organizations to coordinate resources across public and private stakeholders. Regardless, programs generally involve collaboration across Departments of Housing, Departments of Health, healthcare systems, school districts, early childhood education providers, and more.
Evidence and impacts
Ranked as having the highest level of evidence by County Health Rankings and Roadmaps
Multiple studies with rigorous designs demonstrate that lead paint abatement programs are a well-supported strategy for reducing lead exposure in children.
- This assessment is based on evidence from a 2017 systematic review.
Best practices in implementation
Focus on containment: Removing lead-based paint from properties can be expensive. As such, requiring property owners to remove lead-based paint may not be feasible in all areas. As an alternative, many lead paint abatement programs require property owners to properly contain lead-based paint. This approach effectively reduces lead exposure while requiring significantly less resources.
Commit to community involvement: When drafting a policy to address lead-based paint, local governments should involve a range of relevant stakeholders, including tenants and rental property owners. This approach can increase public support for the policy and ensure that the policy addresses the needs of affected groups.
Provide financial assistance: When feasible, local governments should provide financial assistance to support and incentivize property owners in addressing lead hazards. Typically, financial assistance programs require property owners to contribute the majority of abatement costs. Financial assistance may result in quicker adherence to lead safety requirements.
Benchmark current conditions and evaluate the program’s effectiveness: Before implementing a lead paint abatement program, local governments should collect baseline data on blood lead levels for children in the community. These data can be compared to those after implementation to gauge the program’s effectiveness in reducing lead exposure.