What NCHH Does
Our mission is to ensure that everyone has a safe and healthy home. With more than six million families living in substandard housing, we equip leaders across the public health, housing, and environmental sectors with the data, tools, policies, and best practices needed to improve housing quality in their communities. We channel the powerful energy and deep-rooted interests of the healthy housing movement into a force for change. Learn how you can be a part of this change.
An Overview of EPA’s Proposed Changes to the Dust Lead Hazard Standards and Dust Lead Clearance Levels
Last week, in an ongoing effort to protect our nation’s children from preventable lead exposure, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed changing the dust lead hazard standard (DLHS) and dust lead clearance level (DLCL) for lead dust on floors, windowsills, and window troughs. These changes would define any reportable level of lead dust as a hazard and significantly lower the amount of lead dust allowed after remediation efforts. Per EPA’s July 12, 2023, press release:
Today’s proposal would reduce the DLHS from 10 micrograms per square foot (µg/ft2) for floors and 100 µg/ft2 for window sills to any reportable level greater than zero in recognition of the fact that there is no level of lead in dust that has been found to be safe for children. Today’s proposal would lower the DLCL from 10 µg/ft2 to 3 µg/ft2 for floors, from 100 µg/ft2 to 20 µg/ft2 for window sills, and from 400 µg/ft2 to 25 µg/ft2 for window troughs, which are the lowest post-abatement dust-lead levels that the Agency believes can be reliably and effectively achieved [read more]….
The American Rescue Plan: Over $1.7 Billion Budgeted So Far on Healthy Homes Work
In August 2021, we wrote about the opportunity present in the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) for communities to use the flexible funding source to improve housing quality; in April 2022, we published a series of blogs about states, cities, and counties that were doing just that: spending the funds on efforts to remove lead hazards, improve water quality, and repair homes.
Now, we’re following up with a survey of the publicly released data from the Treasury Department on how communities are using these funds. There’s a lot of information below, but the bottom line is that so far, we’ve counted 368 projects1 by states, cities, and counties that have cumulatively budgeted over $1.7 billion towards healthy homes. And to be honest, that might be an undercount [read more]….
Lead Service Lines: Connecting to Environmental Justice
Replacement of lead service lines has become an important public health and environmental justice goal from government leaders over the past several years, from the Biden administration on down to individual cities and towns. Localities working to address this source of lead exposure presents an opportunity is presented to locate replacement efforts within a larger environmental justice strategy that simultaneously addresses other hazards, including other sources of lead exposure such as lead-based paint.
Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) recently identified the top 10 cities in the U.S. with the most lead service lines remaining: Chicago, Cleveland, New York, Detroit, Milwaukee, Denver, St. Louis, Indianapolis, Minneapolis, and Cincinnati. Collectively, these 10 cities have more than one million lead service lines, with Chicago alone recording over 387,000.
Broadly speaking, all but two are older, postindustrial cities located in the Midwest [read more]….