American Healthy Homes Survey II Project Description

HUD is conducting the AHHS II to find out how much lead is in paint, dust, soil and water; pesticides and mold in dust; formaldehyde in air, as well as safety hazards in homes nationwide. Because homes are randomly selected for the survey, some will not have any lead-based; however, it is important that these homes be included in the study.  This is the third survey of its kind, following the first AHHS, which HUD conducted in 2005-2006 and the National Survey of Lead and Allergens in Housing (NSLAH), which HUD conducted in 1998-2001.  The information obtained from these surveys is important for tracking national progress in reducing the number of homes with lead-based paint and other potential health hazards.  Findings from the previous surveys have been published in scientific journals. 

 

The AHHS II project is being conducted for HUD’s Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes by QuanTech, a research contractor based in Rockville, MD, in 78 scientifically selected areas in 37 states between March 2018 and May 2019. Each area is a county or group of counties selected randomly; every part of the country had a chance to be chosen. The areas range from heavily populated urban counties like Cook County, IL (Chicago) and Los Angeles County, CA, to mid-size cities such as Springfield, IL, and very rural areas like Antelope County, NE.  

QuanTech sends a two-person team to each area – an Interviewer and a Technician, who is State-certified as a Lead-Based Paint Inspector and Risk Assessor. The Interviewer goes to the area first to recruit participants for 5-7 days, and then the Interviewer and Technician arrive in homes where the resident has agreed to participate in the project, and they, respectively, ask a series of questions, and do the testing. The testing takes between 2 hours for an apartment or small home, and up to 3½ hours for a very large home. Team responsibilities are divided as follows:

  1. Interviewer
    1. Introduction, inventory of rooms and receipt of a sample of tap water taken by the resident to test for lead.
    2. Administer a questionnaire to the resident on a tablet computer, asking about such things as the age of the home, the type of heating and cooling, use of pesticides, etc.
    3. Record observations of any safety hazards such as frayed electrical cords, missing or non-working smoke detectors, water that is too hot, etc., take moisture measurements on walls, and collect dust samples for mold using a Swiffer and a vacuum.
    4. Record observations on the exterior condition of the home.

 

  1. Technician
    1. Take a formaldehyde air sample with a pump.
    2. Take pesticide wipe samples from floors.
    3. Test painted surfaces for lead-based paint using an instrument that reads the lead level without damaging the paint.
    4. Take wipe samples dust on floors and windows, and in in soil, to test for lead.
    5. Observe and test for whether the water service line to the home has lead.

This project will provide the first national estimates of lead in water, lead service lines, and formaldehyde in air, and will update previous estimates of lead in paint, dust, and soil, and pesticide levels. At the end of the survey, when all samples and data have been analyzed, reports on lead paint and any safety hazards found in the home will be sent to participants who request them. All participants will be provided with a check in exchange for their participation in the survey.  

The information from this project will be critical for tracking the national progress in reducing the number of U.S. homes with lead-based paint and other housing health and safety hazards. For more information about the project, please contact Eugene A. Pinzer of HUD at (202) 402-7685 or eugene.a.pinzer@hud.gov.