Is Lead Lurking in Your Home? | a program for Lancaster City and County residents

NOTE: Codes Manager, Steve Kaufhold is not yet listed on the Borough Website. Following the June borough council meeting, we noted “Interestingly, while Steve Kaufhold was hired as the Codes Manager; his name is not listed at the Borough Website (listed as Zoning/Planning/Codes is Jeff Helm).” Following the December, 2016 meeting, Columbia news, views & reviews noted: “The council voted to hire a new full-time Manager of Code Enforcement and Storm Water Management. Pending background checks, the councillors voted to hire Steven M.  Kaufhold, a Columbia native who now resides in Wrightsville. Kaufhold did own a construction business; he is a United States Army veteran.” The vote was unanimous.


by Aimee Tyson, Program Manager, Community Services, Lancaster County Redevelopment Authority

Do you have children under the age of 6 in your home or do you have children under the age of 6 that spend more than 6 hour a week in your home?  If your home was built prior to 1978, you may be putting them at risk of lead poisoning.

Due to the news stories about the lead poisoning crisis in Flint, Michigan most people have heard about the detrimental effects of lead poisoning in children.  Childhood lead poisoning is considered the most preventable environmental disease among young children, yet approximately half a million U.S. children have elevated blood lead levels.

Lead is a naturally occurring metal that was added to paint and gasoline until 1978 and in rare cases is still used in consumer products. People are most commonly exposed to lead through paint, soil, and water.

Lead poisoning is bad for everyone but is especially dangerous for pregnant women and children under the age of 6. It is not possible to reverse the negative effects of lead poisoning.

Lead poisoning causes the following in children:

  • Damage to the brain and nervous system, including lowered IQ scores
  • Slowed growth and development
  • Learning and behavior problems including ADD
  • Hearing and speech problems

Children with lead poisoning have a higher incidence of dropping out of school and higher likelihood of involvement with juvenile justice systems.

What Can You Do to Make Your Home Lead Safe?

You can make efforts to make your home lead safe using a licensed and certified lead contractor.  If you have a low household income and lack the financial means to make your home lead safe or if you are a renter with a low income, the City of Lancaster and the Lancaster County Redevelopment Authority may be able to help.

In addition to the efforts undertaken by the Partnership for Public Health (see their website at, the City of Lancaster and the Lancaster County Redevelopment Authority are helping low- and moderate-income homeowners and renters in Lancaster County through the provision of a grant to reduce or remove the lead based paint hazards in the home. Click on the graphic below to download a flyer explaining the details of the program for residents of Lancaster City and County.

lead lurking

— continued from the lead-in paragraph above —

During Monday’s council meeting, Kaufhold facilitated a verbal presentation about a proposed Lead Hazard Control Program for the borough. His proposal included:

  • a fairly thorough overview on the health hazards that lead-based paints and residual dust present.
  • A recommendation to implement lead hazard screening on all properties in the borough every three years.
  • Develop and require Interim Control measures
  • Provide public information on the health risks (particularly for children under age six).
  • Purchase an XRF detection device and more.

This 2008 report from the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service (Using XRF Hand-Held Devices To Detect Lead-Based Paint to Detect Lead-Based Paint), has information about XRF devices and states “Lead-based paint that is in good condition poses little risk to individuals or the environment. Dust from lead-based paint, or particles of lead-based paint that are flaking or chipping, can pose a serious health risk. When ingested or inhaled, paint particles contaminated with lead can damage the central nervous system. Children are at greater risk than adults because lead can interfere with neurological development. Lead poisoning causes seizures, comas, and in extreme cases—death.

During the meeting, the councillors voted to approve a “Grant Agreement between CHI St. Joseph Children’s Health and Columbia Borough in the amount of $18,000 for the purchase of a XRF Device and development of policies and procedures to assist with the safety of Borough residents.” Click here to see the specifications on the Heuresis Pb200i XRF Lead Paint Analyzer.

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