The U.S. outlawed lead paint in 1978. Yet it still covers the walls of many older homes, particularly here in the northeast. When that paint chips or peels, it poses a serious danger especially to kids. But in 2005, Rhode Island passed a law requiring some landlords to clean up lead paint. And a group of researchers recently set out to find out if it’s working. Hasbro Children’s Hospital pediatrician and Brown University school of public health associate professor doctor Patrick Vivier is one of those researchers.
There were fewer children in Rhode Island last year with elevated lead levels in their blood. Improvements to housing played a big role in the decline.
Most of the drop in lead levels took place in Providence, Woonsocket, Warwick and Tiverton. In Providence, the city has made sure children couldn’t live in rental homes unless they were certified as lead-free. Also, the city’s water authority monitored lead levels in drinking water.