While the recent appearance of a Lead Paint Notice on the Room Selection website may have caused some anxiety among students living in older housing units, it’s no need for concern, according to Director of Residential Life (ResLife) Fran Koerting.

“We kid around with students that ‘As long as you don’t lick the walls, you’re okay,” she said.

As required by the federal government, the University must function as a “landlord” and inform students who live in houses built before 1978 of the potential hazards of lead paint. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), ingesting lead can cause  “behavioral problems and learning disabilities” and even “seizures and death.”

Before 1978, lead was a common ingredient in paint. According to the EPA, deteriorating lead-based paint is one of the three most common causes of lead poisoning. While the University has in the past geared lead paint warnings towards graduate student housing, where families with younger children—who are more likely to ingest paint—live, it has also included the lead paint notice as part of the Housing Contract that all students must sign.

This year, ResLife decided to make the information about the hazards of lead paint more conspicuous by separating it from the Housing Contract. Koerting emphasized, however, that there have not been any health issues resulting from lead paint in the past.

“This is purely compliant with the law that’s been in effect,” she said. “We’re just trying to do more than we’ve done in the past to really make sure students are aware of it.”

Students must accept the Lead Paint Notice, which can be accessed via their student portfolio, in order to participate in the housing application process.

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