WASHINGTON, D.C. (WWLP) – A new report says that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban
Development’s (HUD) processes for monitoring elevated blood lead levels and lead-based paint hazards in public housing needs improvement.
The Office of the Inspector General for HUD conducted an evaluation of the agency’s protocols for addressing cases of elevated blood lead levels (EBLL) in children living in public housing, and find out how well the EBLL tracker and the Lead-Based Paint Response (LBPR) tracker are in providing accurate and complete data.
The absorption of lead-based paint and lead-contaminated dust are top contributors to lead exposure in young children, especially those under age 6, according to the Center’s for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC says that currently there is no safe blood level for children and no cure for lead poisoning.
Lead is cumulative and over time becomes stored in the teeth and bones, and eventually the body’s organs. Exposure impacts the brain and central nervous system and can impede brain function and development, causing intellectual disabilities and behavioral disorders. In extreme cases, children could suffer from convulsions resulting in coma, and death.
One goal of HUD’s (FY) 2022-2026 Strategic Plan is to protect families and other vulnerable populations from lead-based paint and other health hazards by making an additional 20,000 at-risk housing units healthy and lead-safe by September 30, 2023.
The report made multiple recommendations for HUD including updating the EBLL tracker to include which data fields are required, establishing what type of information can be entered into each data field, disallowing case closure if required information is missing; and coordinating with other HUD offices as necessary, research and address potential causes of the variance in the number of EBLL cases among States on the EBLL tracker and identify solutions that are within