Childhood Lead Poisoning and The RRP Rule

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Childhood Lead Poisoning, Lead Poisoning Reduction and The RRP Rule

As it pertains to older housing, built prior to 1978, lead-based paint and lead poisoning have long been a lightning rod of controversy. Some people even refuse to own an older home due to fears of lead-based paint.

I’d like to start by saying that lead poisoning is nothing to scoff at. For children under the age of 72 months (6 years) and pregnant women, even the smallest amount of lead can be very dangerous. 

The Facts

Due to the permanent health effects of lead exposure to humans, especially children under the age of 72 months, cities (New York City, 1960) and states (New York, 1970) on the East coast began to ban lead-based paint for residential use.   Then in 1973 the EPA informed paint companies that they were banning the production of lead-based paint for residential use nationwide, however the EPA did not ban the sale or use of lead-based paint for residential properties until the end of 1977.  Based on this information it is safe to assume the older a property is, the greater the likelihood of lead-based paint being present.

Lead is dangerous because the body cannot determine the difference between Lead and Iron and thus attempts to use Lead in the same metabolic processes as Iron. At high rates of exposure, this causes a list of non-descript symptoms such as but not limited to:

         High blood pressure.

         Fertility problems in men and women.

         Miscarriages, premature births, brain damage and low birth weights.

         Digestive problems.

         Nerve disorders.

         Memory and concentration problems.

         Sexual disorders.

         Muscle and/or joint pain.

In children’s developing bodies, lead is particularly damaging because it can cause irreversible decreased intelligence, learning disorders and stunt mental development.


In 2010, the EPA passed new regulations dictating how renovators must conduct their work in properties built before 1978. Renovators and their companies (firms) must now be licensed and follow very stringent work practices utilizing specific engineering controls to prevent lead contamination of the occupants and the property.  

Centers for Disease Control (CDC) statistics for the US in 2009 (the
last full year without the RRP rule being in effect) indicate that there were
0.61% of children under the age of 72 months with a Blood Lead Level (BLL) of 10
µ/dL (the “safe limit” at that time). In 2011, the same nationwide testing indicated
that the number of children under the age of 72 months with an elevated BLL (≥10
µ/dL) had decreased by only 0.05%; not exactly a stunning example of progress.

What’s more interesting is what the whole picture looks like. The
CDC has stats on the number of cases of lead poisoning going back to 1997. Overall,
the US numbers have decreased from 7.61% in 1997 down to 0.56% in 2011; that
represents a 92.6% reduction of elevated Lead in blood cases to below the
elevated blood levels (EBLs). In Florida, that number decreased from 6.05% in
1997 to 0.13% in 2011. In other states, the numbers have been even more
dramatic. California has decreased its rate of lead poisoning from 18.33% in
1997 to 0.20% in 2011! 

Source: CDC

A major contributing factor to lowering elevated blood lead levels
is the reduction of airborne lead levels, which was directly impacted by the
removal of lead from gasoline. The Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 mandated
the elimination of lead from all U.S. motor fuel by January 1, 1996. This
important step in protecting our children has created huge gains in public
health where lead exposure is concerned. The chart below shows how airborne
lead levels in the U.S. decreased by 89% between 1980 and 2010. Eliminating leaded gasoline has arguably done more to prevent lead poisoning than anything else.



The EPA Renovation, Repair, and Painting (RRP) Rule requires all contractors and rental property owners to be certified and follow specific lead-safe work practices when they disturb lead paint in housing and child-occupied facilities built before 1978.

Titan can provide the EPA RRP Lead Safe Renovator course to your workforce.

Reserve your spot today.  Call 913-432-5500!

Training Dates

Friday, 11/18

Friday, 12/16

Friday, 01/13

Friday, 02/10

Friday, 03/10

Friday, 04/14



You should be careful if you have cracked, chipped, or peeling paint in a house built before 1978. Young children like to put everything in their mouths and paint chips are one possible option. Also, when embarking on renovations in older houses, think carefully about containing dust and protecting your family.

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