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Research to Move Toward Evidence-Based Recommendations for Lead Service Line Disclosure Policies in Home Buying and Home Renting Scenarios

1
Annenberg Public Policy Center, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA
2
Office of Chief Scientist, Environmental Defense Fund, New York, NY 10010, USA
3
Program in Environmental Health, Environmental Defense Fund, Washington, DC 20009, USA
4
Department of Communication, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(6), 963; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16060963
Received: 18 February 2019 / Revised: 12 March 2019 / Accepted: 14 March 2019 / Published: 18 March 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Health Behavior, Chronic Disease and Health Promotion)
Lead service lines (LSLs)—lead pipes connecting the water main under the street to a building’s plumbing—contribute an estimated 50% to 75% of lead in tap water when they are present. Although Congress banned lead in plumbing materials in 1986, over 6 million LSLs remain in homes across the United States today. This paper summarizes three different home buying or renting scenario-based experimental studies used to evaluate disclosure styles, to assess if these influenced respondents’ perceived risk of the LSL in a home, and their willingness to act. In renting scenarios, having landlords disclose the presence of an LSL, but also provide water test results showing lead levels below the EPA’s lead action level resulted in lower levels of perceived risk, and of willingness to act. In seller-disclosure home buying scenarios, levels of perceived risk and willingness to act were consistently high, and three different disclosure styles did not differentially influence those outcomes. In home inspector-disclosure home buying scenarios, levels of perceived risk and willingness to act were high, but having explicit recommendations to replace LSLs and/or information about risk did not further influence those outcomes. In some cases, including the specific recommendations backfired. Implications for policy and regulation are discussed. View Full-Text
Keywords: lead service lines; scenario-based experiment; property disclosure style; home inspector; risk perception lead service lines; scenario-based experiment; property disclosure style; home inspector; risk perception
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Lu, H.; Romero-Canyas, R.; Hiltner, S.; Neltner, T.; McCormick, L.; Niederdeppe, J. Research to Move Toward Evidence-Based Recommendations for Lead Service Line Disclosure Policies in Home Buying and Home Renting Scenarios. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 963.

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