Monetary benefits of preventing childhood lead poisoning with lead-safe window replacement

Environ Res. 2008 Mar;106(3):410-9. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2007.09.003. Epub 2007 Oct 24.


Previous estimates of childhood lead poisoning prevention benefits have quantified the present value of some health benefits, but not the costs of lead paint hazard control or the benefits associated with housing and energy markets. Because older housing with lead paint constitutes the main exposure source today in the US, we quantify health benefits, costs, market value benefits, energy savings, and net economic benefits of lead-safe window replacement (which includes paint stabilization and other measures). The benefit per resident child from improved lifetime earnings alone is $21,195 in pre-1940 housing and $8685 in 1940-59 housing (in 2005 dollars). Annual energy savings are $130-486 per housing unit, with or without young resident children, with an associated increase in housing market value of $5900-14,300 per housing unit, depending on home size and number of windows replaced. Net benefits are $4490-5,629 for each housing unit built before 1940, and $491-1629 for each unit built from 1940-1959, depending on home size and number of windows replaced. Lead-safe window replacement in all pre-1960 US housing would yield net benefits of at least $67 billion, which does not include many other benefits. These other benefits, which are shown in this paper, include avoided Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, other medical costs of childhood lead exposure, avoided special education, and reduced crime and juvenile delinquency in later life. In addition, such a window replacement effort would reduce peak demand for electricity, carbon emissions from power plants, and associated long-term costs of climate change.

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants / chemistry
  • Air Pollution, Indoor / adverse effects*
  • Air Pollution, Indoor / economics
  • Air Pollution, Indoor / prevention & control
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Environmental Exposure / prevention & control*
  • Housing / economics*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Lead / blood
  • Lead / chemistry
  • Lead Poisoning / economics
  • Lead Poisoning / prevention & control*


  • Air Pollutants
  • Lead