Amendments to the D.C. Lead-Hazard Prevention and Elimination Act Lower Thresholds for Lead-in Paint or Lead-Dust Hazard.

The D.C. Lead-Hazard Prevention and Elimination Act (Act) law has been in effect since March of 2011. This law makes the presence of lead-based paint hazards illegal in all residential dwelling units, in common areas in multifamily properties, and in child-occupied facilities such as daycares, built before 1978.

The standard definition of a lead-based paint hazard consists of three elements: the presence of lead-contaminated dust, lead-contaminated soil, or deteriorating lead paint.The District’s law establishes that any paint in or on a pre-1978 residential property or “child-occupied facility” (including daycares, kindergarten classrooms, or preschools, provided they host children under six years of age on a regular basis) is presumed to be lead-based paint. This means that any paint in or on such a property that is not in intact condition is automatically considered to be a lead-based paint hazard.

D.C. Council has made changes to key regulatory definitions in the Lead-Hazard Prevention and Elimination Act (Act) and enforcement started in August of 2023.

The numeric threshold for what is considered lead-based paint, or a lead dust hazard have been lowered.

“Lead-based paint” means any paint or other surface coating containing lead or lead in its compounds in any quantity exceeding 0.5% of the total weight of the material or more than 0.7 micrograms per square centimeter (0.7 μg/cm²), or such more stringent standards as may be specified in federal law or regulations promulgated by EPA or HUD, which shall be adopted by the Mayor by rule.

“Lead-contaminated dust” means surface dust based on a wipe sample that contains a mass per area concentration of lead equal to or exceeding:

(A) For dust action levels or for the purpose of clearance examination:

(i) 10 micrograms per square foot (“μg/ft²”) on floors; or (ii) 100 μg/ft² on interior windowsills;

(B) For the purpose of clearance examination:

(i) 100 μg/ft² on window troughs; or

(ii) 800 μg/ft² on concrete or other rough exterior surfaces;

(iii) 40 μg/ft² on porch floors;

Amendments to the Lead-Hazard Prevention and Elimination Act are included in D.C. Law 23-188. Residential Housing Environmental Safety Amendment Act of 2020. | D.C. Law Library ( View the Act in its entirety here.

How NoVA Environmental Solutions Can Help

NoVA Environmental Solutions provides property owners, property managers, renovation contractors, architect and engineering firms, and others with lead testing in Virginia and Washington, D.C. only (not in Maryland). When a building has potential lead exposure due to aging infrastructure or renovations, it is crucial to conduct these tests for this potentially harmful element. If you are concerned with lead paint in your property, contact us at (540) 645-6141.