GSA's Public Buildings Service (PBS), complies with applicable Executive Orders, federal, state, and local environmental laws, standards and guidelines to minimize any potential lead hazard in the agency's inventory.
Exposure to lead causes damaging effects to human health. In adults lead exposure can result in high blood pressure, nervous disorders, and memory problems. Children less than six years of age are at higher risk for exposure since they often play on the floor where lead gathers. Lead exposure in children can result in kidney damage, stupor, coma, and severe brain damage.
Potential sources of lead exposure include lead-contaminated dust, soil, deteriorating paint chips, drinking water and small arms ammunition.
In the past, lead was added to many commercial products including paints, solder, plumbing, and ammunition. Lead is considered a risk factor in buildings built prior to 1978. Buildings owned by GSA are subject to lead based paint hazard reduction regulations issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
GSA's lead management program minimizes lead exposure to building occupants:
- Child care centers built prior to 1978 are tested for lead in painted surfaces. Child care center drinking fountains and water coolers are tested in accordance with EPA's "school guidelines".
- Buildings are tested for lead when a renovation project is planned that may disturb painted surfaces.
- Buildings are tested for lead at drinking water fountains and outlets. GSA verifies that its buildings water supplies are potable by checking water source levels from public suppliers.
- GSA complies with EPA's new TRI regulation; lowering the threshold of lead based compounds released into the environment to 100 pounds annually down from 25,000 pounds of manufactured lead based compound or 10,000 pounds used.