New Lead-Based Paint Housing Database for North Carolina Provides Data and Resources to Prevent Lead Exposure

Greensboro, Winston-Salem have some of the highest lead risk in the state

RALEIGH – A new database released today provides parents, realtors, and renovators with easy access to information about whether a home contains risks from lead-based paint. Lead is most often found in older housing. When old paint is flaking off or in poor condition, lead gets into the house dust and everyone is exposed - especially young children. Lead exposure can harm children’s brain development, but fortunately it is preventable.

Find the new database at www.leadfreenc.org

"If you’re buying or renting a new home, we want to make it easy to find out whether the home is lead-safe,” said Vikki Crouse, Research Program Director at NC Child. “Lead-based paint is the biggest source of lead exposure for young children. The good news is that you can prevent exposure, and prevent harm, when you have the facts.”

Lead Risk in the Triad

Among NC cities, Greensboro and Winston-Salem both have a high rate of older homes, as well as a high incidence of children exposed to lead, compared with other parts of the state. Black and Latino children are at higher risk of lead exposure, because they are most likely to live in neighborhoods with older housing.  

Parents and pediatricians in the Triad can use the Lead Safe Database to learn more about the lead risk in their home. They can also find information about how to test their child's blood lead levels, and how to get lead out of their home environment.

About the Database

North Carolina's Lead-Based Paint Housing Database contains data about every residential housing unit in North Carolina. It was developed by a team from the Duke University Environmental Law & Policy Clinic, the NC Division of Public Health, the UNC Institute for the Environment, and NC Child.

The database designates homes built after December 31, 1977, when the federal ban on lead in residential paint went into effect, as “lead safe.” These houses are presumed to have been built without lead-based paint. Homes built prior to that date are designated as “Lead Status Unknown,” since information is not available about whether existing lead has been removed from older homes.

The database is housed at www.leadfreenc.org, which provides comprehensive resources for parents, pediatricians, realtors, and renovators. The site helps users understand lead risks, and how to get them out of young children’s environments.

Risks of lead exposure

Lead exposure can affect anyone, but it is especially harmful during pregnancy, and for children under the age of six, because their bodies and brains are still developing.

“Even at very low levels of exposure, lead can harm a child's developing brain,” said Lenora Smith, Executive Director of Partnership Effort for the Advancement of Children's Health (PEACH). “That can harm a child’s ability to concentrate and focus in school, and even reduce IQ. These effects are often permanent. The best way to protect children’s healthy development is to prevent the lead exposure in the first place.”

Find the new Lead-Safe Paint Housing database at www.leadfreenc.org

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NC Child is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to build a strong North Carolina by advancing public policies to ensure all children – regardless of race, ethnicity, or place of birth – have the opportunity to thrive. 

ncchild.org

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