Reynolds Brown: Require rentals to be lead-free

City Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown Thursday morning called for mandatory lead testing for rental apartments and a prohibition on renting those apartments until they are certified safe from lead exposure.

Brown estimated the inspection fees at between $100 and $150 but acknowledged that the lead-free requirement would be a significant expense for landlords. Part of the public hearing process to develop the bill will be finding ways to pay for lead removal to reduce the burden on property owners, she said. 

The bill would apply to rental apartments built before 1978, when lead-based paint -- the primary cause of lead poisoning -- was banned for residences. An inspector could certify a unit lead-safe - meaning there was no exposed lead - or lead-free, which would free the owner from subsequent inspections.

Brown said that 2,500 children each year in Philadelphia are diagnosed with lead poisoning, an unacceptable statistic, she said.

Click here for's politics page.