City leaders are calling
Overall, more than 16,000 housing units were inspected between July 2006 and July 2007.
“More than 400 of them would not have been recognized as being safe if it weren't for the law,” said Rochelle Ruffer, Ph. D., the associate director for economic analysis at the Center for Governmental Research.
The law requires all rental properties built before 1978 to undergo a visual inspection. Of the 16,000 inspection, 94 percent of the housing units passed, and that’s higher than researchers expected.
But of those that passed a visual inspection, about 3,800 were located in what are called high risk areas -- where a larger number of children were found to have elevated blood levels. Surprisingly, 85 percent of those homes past a dust wipe test.
And that’s a test city leaders want to use on more homes during the next year of the study.
“We're hoping to catch more of those homes that would have passed a visual, but did not pass the dust wipe,” Ruffer said.
Researchers would also like to get a handle on how the new law is actually affecting lead poisoning in children. Cases of lead poisoning did drop from 600 to 400 in
“It's one thing to say it's fallen, but it's another to say it's statistically made a difference,” Ruffer said. “We didn't have enough data this time around to say that.”
Landlords are expected to make repairs if lead paint is detected, and it can be costly. According to the study, 30 percent of landlords spent more than $1,000 to clean housing units. On average, landlords spent $2,618. The city is making grants of up to $24,000 available to landlords to help with the expenses.