The nation's top housing official is proposing lowering the level of lead that must be detected in children's blood before triggering federal action to clean up the homes where they live.
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro made the announcement Wednesday after touring Providence, Rhode Island homes where lead paint hazards have been cleaned up using federal funds.
The proposal would reduce the level that triggers intervention from 20 micrograms per deciliter of blood to 5.
It could impact nearly 30 million subsidized housing units.
The revisions would align HUD limits with recommendations made in 2012 by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Advocates have pushed for the federal change, and Castro said in an interview that his agency has been considering it for some time.
"HUD has been aware that the standard ought to change," Castro said. "We started advising our grantees they ought to use the (CDC) standard. ... Now we're making it official that it's required."
Lead exposure can cause learning disabilities in children.
Cox Media Group