Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Rhode Island lead law effective, but often ignored

Date:
July 7, 2014
Source:
Brown University
Summary:
Only one in five properties in Central Falls, Pawtucket, Providence, and Woonsocket that are covered by Rhode Island's lead hazard mitigation law were in compliance with the statute more than four years after it took effect, according to a study by a local team of academic, government, and nonprofit researchers. Many exempt dwellings also seem likely to harbor hazards. But where landlords have complied, the data show that children have benefited.

When landlords have followed Rhode Island's law requiring them to protect tenants from exposure to lead, their compliance has significantly reduced blood levels of the toxic metal in children. But in four of the state's major cities, only 20 percent of properties that are covered by the law were in compliance with the law even more than four years after it took effect, according to a study by researchers at Brown University, The Providence Plan, HousingWorks RI, and the Rhode Island Department of Health.

"The law works when it is followed," said Michelle Rogers, a senior project analyst in the Brown University School of Public Health and lead author of the study to be published in the August issue of the American Journal of Public Health.

The sweeping study of the impact of Rhode Island's Lead Hazard Mitigation Law, which took effect in November 2005, found that children living in compliant buildings between 2005 and 2009 had significantly lower blood lead levels than children in noncompliant ones. When the researchers looked at before-and-after test results of children whose buildings were brought into compliance, they found that their lead levels dropped by more than 17 percent on average.

That drop was enough to bring the average child in that sample from 5.2 micrograms per deciliter down to 4.3. That's important because public health officials and physicians consider 5 micrograms to be a level of concern. Too much lead can harm the neurological development of young children.

The Rhode Island Department of Health mandates that children be screened for lead twice by 36 months and collects records through the Lead Elimination Surveillance System.

The study found that among all 16,043 non-exempt properties in Central Falls, Pawtucket, Providence, and Woonsocket, the owners of only 20.3 percent had earned the needed Lead Hazard Mitigation Certificates or met a higher standard. In properties where children lived between 2005 and 2009, the compliance rate was 29.7 percent.

The law requires that landlords of non-owner-occupied buildings built before 1978 that have more than three units take a three-hour lead hazard awareness class, assess and fix any hazards to the property, perform lead-safe maintenance practices, and obtain the certificate from a proper inspector.

In many cases, Rogers said, repainting using commonsense work practices is enough to meet the law's standard and keep children safe.

Still, because of the lack of compliance with the law and widespread exemptions, more than 20 percent of children in the four cities who live in dwellings without a certificate have had at least one test above the 5 microgram level, the study showed. One child in 30 in such homes has tested above 10 micrograms.

The average blood lead level among children in homes without a certificate is 3.3 micrograms per deciliter.

Exposure in exempt properties

The law exempts many dwellings, such as owner-occupied single-family homes. More than two-thirds of the residences in the four cities analyzed were therefore exempt from the law.

But the researchers looked at the blood tests of children living in those properties, and found that lead exposure is a problem there too, although somewhat less so. More than 20 percent of children living in exempt dwellings had at least one test above 5 micrograms, and 2.8 percent had a test above 10 micrograms, according to the study data.

The results prompted the authors to raise the question of whether the law should be expanded to all dwellings.

"There are so many properties that are exempt that young children are living in," Rogers said. "They are still being exposed. For children to grow up healthy and ready to learn, we need stricter enforcement of the lead compliance regulations and legislation that covers all properties where children live."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Brown University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Michelle L. Rogers, James A. Lucht, Alyssa J. Sylvaria, Jessica Cigna, Robert Vanderslice, Patrick M. Vivier. Primary Prevention of Lead Poisoning: Protecting Children From Unsafe Housing. American Journal of Public Health, 2014; e1 DOI: 10.2105/AJPH.2014.301908

Cite This Page:

Brown University. "Rhode Island lead law effective, but often ignored." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 July 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140707121511.htm>.
Brown University. (2014, July 7). Rhode Island lead law effective, but often ignored. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140707121511.htm
Brown University. "Rhode Island lead law effective, but often ignored." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140707121511.htm (accessed August 27, 2014).

Share This




More Science & Society News

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

WHO Calls for Ban on E-Cigarette Sales to Minors

WHO Calls for Ban on E-Cigarette Sales to Minors

AFP (Aug. 26, 2014) The World Health Organization called Tuesday on governments should ban the sale of e-cigarettes to minors, warning that they pose a "serious threat" to foetuses and young people. Duration: 01:44 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
ICREACH: NSA Built A Google Of Americans' Info

ICREACH: NSA Built A Google Of Americans' Info

Newsy (Aug. 26, 2014) The Intercept published an article Monday profiling what the online publication called NSA's very own Google of personal data. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Does Medical Marijuana Reduce Painkiller Overdose Deaths?

Does Medical Marijuana Reduce Painkiller Overdose Deaths?

Newsy (Aug. 26, 2014) A new study found fewer deaths from prescription drug overdoses in states that have legalized medical marijuana. But experts disagree on the results. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Breakingviews: India Coal Strained by Supreme Court Ruling

Breakingviews: India Coal Strained by Supreme Court Ruling

Reuters - Business Video Online (Aug. 26, 2014) An acute coal shortage is likely to be aggravated as India's supreme court declared government coal allocations illegal, says Breakingviews' Peter Thal Larsen. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins