Lead Paint Dangers

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Summary Statement

The dangers of lead poisoning were known as far back as the early 19th century. In 1897, it was noted in Australia that children were becoming ill after chewing on porch railings. In the United States, the toxicity of lead pigment and paint to workers was well known by 1910; however, the toxicity to children was not acknowledged until the mid-1920s. By the early 1930s a consensus had developed among specialists that lead paint posed a significant hazard to children. Despite the mounting evidence and widespread acknowledgement throughout the medical community that lead paint was hazardous to the health of consumers, including children, the lead paint industry in the United States did not removed lead from its paint or warn consumers of the dangers until very late. In 1970, federal legislation was enacted that prohibited the use of lead paint in federally financed and subsidized housing. The Consumer Products Safety Commission also passed a ban on the use of all lead paint after February 1978. Unfortunately, the lead paint industry still haunts us today. The National Safety Council estimates that 38 million homes still contain lead paint and 25% of homes contain some type of a lead hazard. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that there are currently 434,000 children between the ages of one in five with elevated levels of lead in their blood.

1:06 mins.
safety and Health Trainers
National Science Foundation