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Hazard Standards and Clearance Levels for Lead in Paint, Dust and Soil (TSCA Sections 402 and 403)

In December 2020, EPA announced a new action to better protect American children from the dangers of lead. This final rule will lower the clearance levels for the amount of lead that can remain in dust on floors and window sills after lead removal activities. 

EPA’s new clearance levels are 10 micrograms (µg) of lead in dust per square foot (ft2) for floor dust and 100 µg/ft2 for window sill dust, significantly lower than the previous levels of 40 µg/ft2 for floor dust and 250 µg/ft2 for window sill dust.

These new clearance levels will reduce lead dust-related risks to children in pre-1978 homes and childcare facilities where lead abatement activities take place. After actions are taken to remove lead from a building, those buildings must then be tested to make sure that the cleaning activities were successful. These “clearance levels” indicate that lead dust was effectively removed at the end of the abatement work. 

In June 2019, EPA announced new, tighter standards for lead in dust on floors and window sills to protect children from the harmful effects of lead exposure, known as lead hazard standarads. The standards were lowered from 40 µg of lead in dust per ft2 on floors and 250 µg of lead in dust per ft2 on interior window sills, to 10 µg/ft2 to 100 µg/ft2, respectively. The strengthened standards became effective on January 2, 2020, which was 180 days after publication in the Federal Register. The lead hazard standards help property owners, lead paint professionals, and government agencies identify lead hazards in residential paint, dust and soil. The DLCL are used to demonstrate that abatement activities effectively and permanently eliminate those hazards. They apply in most pre-1978 housing and child-occupied facilities.  

The hazard standards are incorporated into the Section 402/404 lead-based paint activity regulations. In addition, lead-based paint hazards trigger reporting obligations under the Section 1018 real estate disclosure regulations. Please refer to those regulations for information on compliance requirements regarding these hazard standards.

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