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Lead dust in your home, child care could hurt your kids. The EPA has proposed a rule to help

Lead paint peels off from a home's porch. Lead paint from homes built before 1978 is one of the most common sources of lead exposure for kids.
Wikimedia Commons
Lead paint from homes built before 1978 is one of the most common sources of lead exposure for kids.

The Environmental Protection Agency wants to significantly lower the amount of dust from lead paint in homes and child care centers across the U.S. That could have a big impact in Indiana — where doctors have to offer lead screening for every child under 6.

If your child has elevated blood lead levels, your home or child care center could get tested for lead. Under the EPA's proposed rule, there would be a higher standard for cleanup.

The limits for lead dust on floors would be about three times lower, windowsills would be five times lower, and window troughs would be 16 times lower. The agency is also in the middle of revising its standard for lead in soil.

Gabriel Filippelli directs the IUPUI Center for Urban Health — which has programs to help people and communities test for lead in dust and soil. He said this is a huge win for children’s health — because both the dust and soil standards are woefully outdated.

Filippelli said the standard for dust in particular will help in an area health departments have had little control over.

“People think about paint or sometimes soil, but really dust is one of the main shuttles for either of those sources. That shuttle between the environment and then getting inside a child," Filippelli said.

READ MORE: Local health departments adjust to help a lot more kids with lead poisoning

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But there are some pitfalls. Filippelli said landlords that get lead testing done aren’t always required to share the results with their tenants.

“In fact, we hear reports of landlords evicting people because they simply don't want to deal with it," he said.

Filippelli said for lower-income homeowners, there simply isn’t enough federal money right now to help pay for every home that needs lead cleanup. He hopes that will change once the EPA sees how much it’s needed.

There is no safe level of lead. You can send dust samples in your home to be tested for lead through 360 Dust Analysis. IUPUI and faith groups in Indianapolis also offer anonymous home lead testing kits.

Rebecca is our energy and environment reporter. Contact her at or follow her on Twitter at @beckythiele.

Rebecca Thiele covers statewide environment and energy issues.