Do you live in a DC home built before 1978? If the answer is yes, it almost certainly contains lead paint—in fact, almost 90 percent of DC homes do. That’s why childhood lead exposure remains prevalent here in DC.
Lead exposure from paint dust or peeling paint can permanently disrupt a child’s growth and learning. No amount of lead is safe for a child. As a result, kids who are exposed to lead—even children who are exposed when their mom is pregnant—often struggle in school and can't reach their potential in the workplace.
The good news is that lead exposure is preventable in DC. That’s why we’re supporting the Lead Hazard Prevention and Elimination Act of 2019. This bill will introduce strong enforcement rules, ensuring DC landlords proactively manage lead threats, preventing lead exposure in the first place. The legislation will ensure all DC rental homes are maintained free of lead-based paint hazards—guaranteeing that ALL DC children and families have the safe, healthy homes we all deserve.
What does lead exposure look like?A giggling baby boy, Jackson, is sitting on the floor, crawling around and playing with his toys. We all know it’s going to happen—he’ll end up putting one of those toys, his hand or even his foot in his mouth. What Jackson’s parents might not realize about this sweet moment is the danger Jackson is exposed to. If the home Jackson lives in contains lead paint, as so many homes in DC do, Jackson’s seemingly harmless play may be exposing him to lead.
When a house or apartment contains lead paint that isn’t properly addressed, the paint can flake or chip off windowsills and walls. It can also come off the walls as lead dust. This barely noticeable dust settles around the home—on carpets, tables and toys. So Jackson isn’t just putting his hands, feet and toys in his mouth. He’s swallowing lead, too. And it takes just one milligram of dust—the equivalent of three granules of sugar—to poison a child like Jackson.
Once he’s exposed to lead, there is no cure. Jackson may very well face a lifetime of problems concentrating, poor impulse control, struggles in school and under performance in his career—all because of the lead he was exposed to as a baby.Yet there’s hope for kids across our city. Jackson’s lifelong challenges are entirely preventable. Call or email your councilmember today and ask them to support the Lead Hazard Prevention and Elimination Act of 2019. Our current lead laws lack strong enforcement rules and haven’t prevented lead exposure for children like Jackson. This proactive legislation requires all rental homes to be free of lead-based paint hazards and includes strong enforcement measures that will protect children and families in the District—because everyone deserves a healthy home, no matter where they live.
Interested in getting involved?
Call or email your councilmember today and ask them to support the Lead Hazard Prevention and Elimination Act of 2019. Contact Buck Logan -- blogan (at) childrenslawcenter.org -- to learn more on other opportunities to get involved. See below for graphics to share on social media, fact sheets and more!
More on the Lead Hazard Prevention and Elimination Act of 2019
2019 Lead Bill Fact Sheet - general
2019 Lead Bill Fact Sheet - detailed