A Draft Executive Order to Ensure Healthy Homes: Eliminating Lead and Other Housing Hazards

Author: National Center for Healthy Housing


Summary 

Over 23 million homes in America have significant lead paint hazards and more than 200,000 children have unsafe levels of lead in their blood. Lead poisoning causes significant decreases in math and reading scores and a host of other health problems, all of which are preventable.

The urgent need for homes that support good health has never been clearer: the COVID-19 pandemic has meant more time in our residences, bringing healthy housing to the fore as a national priority. Inadequate housing conditions—such as exposure to lead paint, radon, mold and moisture, pest infestations, structural instability, and fire hazards—cause or exacerbate asthma, allergies, poisonings, falls and injuries, cancer, cardiovascular problems and other preventable illnesses. They needlessly burden our hospitals, schools, communities, and housing finance institutions, exacerbating the housing affordability crisis. Sustainable healthy housing is essential to economic vitality, climate change mitigation, and children’s futures.

This Executive Order establishes a cabinet-level Presidential Task Force on Lead Poisoning Prevention and Healthy Housing to coordinate the nation’s response to lead paint and other housing-related diseases and injuries under the Biden administration. Led by the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, this Task Force will recommend new strategies, regulations, incentives and other actions that promise to conquer these avoidable problems. With strategic leadership and concerted action, the Task Force can eliminate childhood lead poisoning as a major public health problem and ensure that all American families have healthy homes.


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About the Author

The National Center for Healthy Housing (NCHH) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation based in Columbia, Maryland with a mission to transform lives by transforming housing. Through meaningful partnership, practical research, community capacity building, and data-driven advocacy and awareness building, NCHH creates systems and structures that reduce disparities. NCHH is also a proud member of the Find It, Fix It, Fund It action drive to eliminate lead poisoning. The drive, launched by NCHH, the National Safe and Healthy Housing Coalition, and over 150 other members outlines key recommendations for needed policies, publicity, education, and funding to find and eliminate exposures, surveillance and follow-up of lead-exposed children, financing, infrastructure and workforce development.