[Parentsgroup-list] lead problems

wenc at fas.harvard.edu wenc at fas.harvard.edu
Fri May 9 10:35:14 EDT 2008

It's actually illegal in Massachusetts to rent to families with children under 3
if the place is not officially deleaded.  So it's not so much a matter of
discrimination as being against the law--the landlord can be sued if your kids
have high lead levels and there really isn't any defense.

If you are living somewhere with lead and you get pregnant, you can also
apparently force the landlord to delead -- which they don't want to do because
it can cost a lot of money.  (Or not--deleading my house ended up costing me
less than $3000, and you can write off the whole thing on your taxes.)

There are grants & loans they can get through the city to delead if they look.

You could also just look in newer buildings--I think lead paint was banned in
the U.S. around 1978, so anything built after that will not have lead and
should not be a problem.

If you want to know why we've used so much lead paint in the U.S. even though
everyone knew it was toxic, read Rosner & Markowitz, "Deceit and Denial," or
other work of theirs.  (David Rosner is a prof of the history of public health
at Columbia.)

Good luck,

Quoting "Noam Y. Kirson" <kirson at fas.harvard.edu>:

> Hi,
> I know there was a rather active discussion in this forum a while back about
> deleaded apartments. We're currently looking to move to Brookline (Coolidge
> Corner area) July 1, and seem to have hit a wall: we have two children (5 and
> 1) and have been searching for almost 2 months now. the problem is finding a
> deleaded place. We have spoken to at least 10 realtors and some landlords
> (either through craigslist or directly). One of their first questions is if
> we
> have children and how old they are (which they ask directly or indirectly).
> When they hear that we have kids, they find ways to avoid showing us the
> apartments. Some fully admit is because of lead issues.
> We would be very grateful for help in two ways:
> (a) tips on how to deal with landlords/realtors. we know they're not allowed
> to
> screen and discriminate, but defacto that's what happens.
> (b) if anyone knows of a 2 or 3br in the Coolidge Corner area (Devotion
> school
> district), any leads would be great.
> Thanks,
> Noam (econ department)
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