Lead Window Replacement
Ramsey County has sharply reduced the number of children exposed to lead-based paint hazards in recent years through our Lead Window Replacement Program. The program proactively identifies homes that may contain lead hazards. It is part of a larger initiative in Saint Paul-Ramsey County Public Health called Healthy Homes.
Through a housing-based primary prevention lens, environmental health specialists can triage a home by:
The year a home was built
The age of a home is a strong indicator if windows may have been painted with lead-based paint, as 75 percent of homes built before 1978 contain some lead-based paint. And over time, paint can deteriorate, which makes it more likely that a young child playing near a window will be exposed to the harmful effects of lead.
Homes with children that have elevated blood levels
When elevated blood levels are determined in a child under six years of age, inspectors work with a public health nurse to connect with the family so they can assess and identify the most likely source of lead in the home.
The focus on prevention is important because young children who suffer from lead poisoning can experience learning, behavioral and health problems. It is important to identify homes early, with the hope of getting the windows replaced before it can impact the overall health of a child. Yet thousands of children remain at risk, which is why this program is crucial - to ensure a healthy home for its most vulnerable occupants.
When an inspector visits a home, they can accurately measure the lead level of painted surfaces by using a XFR (X-ray fluorescence) device. This XFR will give inspectors individual results of each surface tested in seconds, including the level of lead in the painted surfaces of window components, which are the most common source of lead exposure in the home. Inspectors can make on-site recommendations and enroll residents in the program.
How the Lead Window Replacement Program works
Saint Paul - Ramsey County Public Health partners with NeighborWorks Home Partners and the East Side Neighborhood Development Company in the Lead Window Replacement Program. Since the program’s start in 1994, 20,000 windows have been replaced in nearly 1,000 homes.
This program assesses lead risks and replaces deteriorated windows in Ramsey County homes that are occupied by young children. Rental properties receive grants for 50 percent of the lead hazard control costs. An average window replacement for a home with 12 windows would cost the property owner $3,000. Owner-occupied properties receive grants for 75 percent of the lead hazard control costs. An average window replacement for a home with 12 windows would cost the property owner $1,500.
Who qualifies for the Lead Window Replacement Program?
- This program is available to both owner-occupied and rental property owners.
- A child under six years of age must occupy the home.
- Painted surfaces of window components must be deteriorated and painted with lead-based paint.
- The occupants must be at or below 80 percent of the median income, which is approximately $68,000 for a family of four.