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Omaha Lead Registry
Omaha Lead Registry

Lead and My Community

Underline

To work together to end lead exposure in Omaha.

Communities build cities. They house the culture, character, and life that create a city’s landscape. Omaha is making great strides in ending lead exposure in the largest residential Superfund site in the nation. A safer city, state, and world start with healthy communities. This begins with making education accessible, increasing lead testing and data collection efforts, and raising awareness around lead related issues. When planning a renovation on your home or business, make sure to take proper precautions and know your rights when dealing with contractors, realtors, landlords, inspectors, and banks. Becoming aware of lead hazards, laws, and policy around lead exposure will help you avoid undue financial and health challenges for you, your family, and your community.

By the 20th century, lead had entered many aspects of community life. Smelting factories created air pollution, lead water lines were prevalent, consumer products contained lead and lead-based paint was used in homes and businesses. Key policies including the elimination of leaded gasoline, reductions in industrial emissions, limits placed on lead in paint in 1978, the 1986 prohibition against use of lead pipes and plumbing, and a shift in the 90’s to welded (non-soldered) food cans all helped begin to address this looming public health crisis.

Gotlead community history

History

In Omaha, there are 84,000 homes built before 1978 and 68104, 68105, 68106, 68107, 68110, 68111, 68131, and 68132 are the zip codes with the greatest number of lead exposure in children. Omaha has childhood blood lead levels higher than the national average. Through advocacy, education and action, the community is working to reduce those numbers and become lead-safe.

Omaha also houses the largest residential Superfund site in the nation. Soil has been contaminated by air emissions from historic lead smelting and refining operations. Over 14,000 properties have had free soil replacement and over 4,000 have had exterior paint stabilization through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The Lead Hazard Control Program also makes homes lead safe through window and door replacement and interior lead stabilization.

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Gotlead community policies

Policies

In Omaha, the Residential Lead-Based Paint Professions Practice Act outlines procedures and requirements for individuals and firms engaged in lead-based paint activities. On a federal level, the EPA’s Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule requires contractors follow lead-safe practices and become certified if they plan to disturb paint in pre-1978 schools, childcare facilities, or homes.

Housing and Urban development (HUD) and the EPA enacted a Lead-Based Paint Disclosure Rule wherein sellers must disclose known information around lead hazards before selling a house. On a local level, policy work is still being done but the goals include: testing all children for lead, ensuring disclosure and RRP rule are followed and creating standards for lead-safe work and the protection of remediated yards.

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Gotlead community realestate

Real Estate

If a home was built before 1978, federal regulations require that sellers disclose lead hazards to buyers. Sales contracts should include lead disclosure forms. Prior to purchase, a risk assessment or inspection for possible lead hazards can put a buyer’s mind at ease. Testing is also advised in newer homes as lead may be present in post-1978 homes.

Even when renting a pre-1978 home, a landlord must disclose lead-based paint or known hazards in the unit. A lead poisoning prevention pamphlet is often handed out to buyers and renters to help them stay proactive and aware in their new dwelling. Since new homeowners often remodel or repaint when they move in, it is crucial they are aware of all safe practices and procedures.

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Gotlead community landlords

Landlords

Landlords must disclose all known lead-based paint hazards to tenants. As an attachment to a lease, landlords should provide an informational pamphlet on lead hazards and lead poisoning prevention so they can be empowered with all necessary information.

Landlords must be held accountable if they do not disclose or address lead paint hazards.

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Gotlead community inspections

Inspections

There are programs in Omaha that offer free lead hazard inspections to families living in pre-1978 housing where children seven years of age and younger spend significant time. Families with children who have elevated blood levels are given priority. Lead inspections identify lead in materials including paint and finished surfaces.

If lead is detected, there is protocol in place to ensure the affected areas are identified, reduced, and removed properly. There are also networks of paid consultants who do lead inspections and lead abatement projects in facilities including residential, commercial buildings, governmental, healthcare and municipal buildings.

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Gotlead community contractors

Contractors

Although not required to do any lead hazard testing themselves, contractors and firms must be licensed and certified if conducting any lead-based paint activities. If they are disturbing painted surfaces in schools, childcare facilities or homes built before 1978 they must follow specific procedures to prevent contamination.

Renovation and repairs may create lead dust but when following lead-safe practices during a project, contractors can ensure everyone’s safety. Homeowners and tenants are allowed to ask to see a contractor or renovator’s certification before work begins. And communication is key throughout a project.

If a childcare facility is being renovated, information must be available to the staff and families that outline a plan and course of action that puts the safety of children and families first. When it comes to lead safety, information is power.

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Resources

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See if your home has ever been tested for lead:

Omaha Lead Registry

See how we improve children's health through healthy homes:

Omaha Healthy Kids Alliance