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Citizen action prompts lead testing
Detail: Philadelphia is making lead testing of rentals mandatory and also prohibiting renting units until they are certified as safe from lead exposure. City Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown introduced legislation that would require apartments built before 1978, when lead-based paint was banned for residences, to pass inspection before being rented. Units certified lead-safe, meaning no exposed lead, or lead-free would not be required to undergo subsequent inspections. The cost of inspecting one unit is estimated at $100 to $150, though the lead-free requirement could be a significant expense for landlords.

City Councilwoman Brown said she was inspired to take action by the Philadelphia Citizens for Children and Youth (PCCY), which first issued a report on children and lead poisoning in the city in 2002. According to Brown, about 2,500 children in Philadelphia are diagnosed each year with lead poisoning, an unacceptable statistic.

Philadelphia’s housing code states that landlords must keep their units free from hazards such as lead-based paint. 55 percent of the properties where lead poisoning takes place are rentals thus suggesting that not all landlords are following the rules. This new bill would force landlords to prove that their properties are safe. Brown said that a portion of the hearings held in connection with the bill would focus on finding ways to reduce the burden on property owners for inspection and remediation.
Source: Based on a story by Jeff Shields titled, “Bill seeks lead testing of Phila. Rentals”, The Philadelphia Inquirer, January 29, 2010 Friday, CITY-C Edition
Date: February 17 2010