Uncertainty regarding lead paint liability has been a dark cloud hanging over the housing industry for several years. While the City Council and state legislature ponder the difficult issues involved, the legal and financial consequences for the city and for low-income housing are mounting inexorably.

Interior house surfaces covered with lead-based paints have long been recognized as a principal source of lead poisoning in young children, with potentially devastating and irreversible neurological effects. Children are most likely to suffer acute lead poisoning when they eat flaked paint chips or chew on window ledges or other painted surfaces, but recent research suggests that lead dust cast from friction or impact surfaces in the home is a more common contributor to high blood lead levels. Moreover, it is now recognized that rudimentary methods of lead-based paint removal can generate significant health risks by releasing dust, and so remediation must be carefully performed.

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