By Barbara Laker & Wendy Ruderman
The current law, passed in 2012, requires landlords to certify their rentals as lead-safe only if they rent to families with children who are 6 and younger.
But landlords largely have ignored the law, and the city has failed to hold them to account, an Inquirer and Daily News investigation found last October as part of the “Toxic City” series.
Shortly thereafter, Kenney formed the Philadelphia Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Advisory Group to find ways to reduce the numbers of children exposed to lead.
On Tuesday, Kenney and other city officials released the group’s report, which also recommended that the city financially help owners remove lead paint from their homes.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says public health and pediatricians should intervene when children have a blood lead level of 5 micrograms per deciliter. The Health Department investigates only when a child hits a level of 10.
Last year, 341 children tested had a blood lead level above 10 — a new low, City Health Commissioner Thomas Farley said.
“We’ve made an awful lot of progress in lead over the years, but we still have far too many children who are being exposed to lead,” Farley said Tuesday. “This report represents a shift towards primary prevention, preventing kids from having exposure to lead in the first place, rather than just testing them and finding out later on.”
The city said it had struggled to enforce the current law because it was difficult to discern which rentals had young children. With an all-inclusive law, the city could deny a rental license to those landlords who don’t certify their rentals as lead-safe.