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PR LEAD BASED PAINT RIGHT TO KNOW EXTENDED

Release Date: 12/6/96
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PR LEAD BASED PAINT RIGHT TO KNOW EXTENDED

FOR RELEASE: THURSDAY, DECEMBER 5, 1996 LEAD-BASED PAINT RIGHT-TO-KNOW PROGRAM EXTENDED TO SINGLE-FAMILY-HOME TRANSACTIONS
Friday, Dec. 6, marks the first time that all home buyers and tenants will have the right to know about potential lead-based paint hazards before they buy or rent older housing under a new U.S. Environmental Protection Agency/U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development program. Prospective tenants or buyers of pre-1978 residential dwellings -- including single-family-home owners -- now can ask for and receive information on known lead-based paint and lead-based paint hazards before purchasing or renting.

"Today, we guarantee for the first time that all home buyers have the right to know about hazardous lead paint in their homes," said EPA Administrator Carol M. Browner. "Today's action will greatly contribute to our efforts to prevent and eliminate the incidence of childhood lead poisoning nationwide."

More than 1.7 million American children under the age of six have unsafe blood-lead levels, making lead poisoning a top environmental health hazard for young children. Most of those children are poisoned by deteriorated lead-based paint and the contaminated soil and dust it generates. Children with too much lead in their bodies can experience lowered IQ, reading and learning disabilities, impaired hearing and other problems. More than 80 percent of the U.S. housing stock built before 1978 -- some 64 million residences -- contains lead paint.

In addition to receiving specific information on known lead hazards in the building, home buyers and renters will receive a short pamphlet containing basic lead-poisoning prevention tips. The pamphlet "Protect Your Family from Lead in Your Home," provides general information on lead inspection and risk assessment activities, and outlines practical, low-cost suggestions that families can use to identify and control lead-based paint hazards in a home. In the case of sales transactions, home buyers can also request up to 10-days to conduct a lead-based paint risk assessment or inspection at their own expense prior to finalizing a sales contract. The new requirements apply to sales and rentals of residences built before 1978, the year the sale of residential lead-based paint was banned.

Specific notification and right-to-know language must be included in the contract or lease, along with signed statements from all parties verifying the requirements have been met. The first phase of the joint EPA/HUD program took effect on Sept. 6 when owners with more than four residential dwellings and their agents were required to disclose known hazards. This program is being administered jointly by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to ensure that families receive basic lead hazard exposure prevention information prior to purchasing or renting older housing. The program was launched earlier this year in March when EPA and HUD released a final rule specifying the

requirements for lead notification and disclosure.

For a copy of the pamphlet, sample disclosure forms, or the rule, call the National Lead Information Clearinghouse at 1-800-LEAD-FYI. The EPA pamphlet and rule also are available electronically through the Internet at http://www.epa.gov/opptintr/lead.

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