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Environmental Control

This program provides for the enforcement of various City ordinances in an effort to correct public health nuisances in the community involving lead paint, housing sanitation, certain pests such as mosquitoes and bedbugs, and preliminary investigation of pollution incidents. Consultative and referral services are available regarding various environmental health issues such as asbestos, indoor air quality, radon and noise.

Primary Services:

  • Investigation and elimination of community nuisances involving sanitation, lead paint and vector control
  • Consultative services regarding environmental health issues

Vector Control

Mosquito bites can be more than just annoying and itchy, they can also make you sick.  Mosquitos are vectors which means they are capable of carrying and spreading diseases.  Certain diseases are only carried and transmitted by specific species of mosquitos.  There are approximately 60 species of mosquitos found in Pennsylvania.  Of those, the species that pose the most risk to human health are Culex pipiens and the Aedes albopictus or Asian tiger mosquito. 

For more information on mosquito borne illnesses, click here.

Bed Bugs

Click here to load the Bedbug Life Cycle pdf.

While the name bed bug implies that they only live in mattresses, bed bugs can live in cracks, crevices, upholstered furniture, clutter, and any place that humans occupy frequently. They come out at night to eat, then hide during the day. Bed bugs come into homes on used pieces of furniture, other people, and from adjacent apartments.  A common myth is that you get bed bugs from being unclean, but anyone can get them because they hitch hike on people and items.  

Bed bugs are 1/8th inch long, chestnut brown, wingless, and generally oval shaped. They eat blood, similarly to mosquitos. When they eat they can elongate and become dark red. They typically bite in a row rather than a single bite, but not everyone has a reaction. While bed bugs do not spread disease, they do cause mental anguish.   

If you think you have bed bugs, do not spray for bed bugs on your own; over the counter pesticides are not effective against bed bugs and can cause them to spread. Additionally, spraying on your own can cause serious health effects, especially if done directly on mattresses. Pesticide free control methods and consulting with a licensed pest control applicator are recommended instead. It will take cooperation between the pest control applicator and the occupant of the home to control the infestation.  

Indicators of Bed Bug Infestations

1. Small bites on the body, usually in rows of three.

2. Exoskeletons. As bugs mature, they shed their skins.

3. Blood stains or dark spots on sheets, mattresses or other furniture.

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Indoor mold is very common and occurs in areas that have excess moisture.  Mold can be many different colors and can appear in a spotted pattern on a variety of surfaces. The most effective ways of controlling mold growth are through cleaning and moisture control.  Mold should be cleaned with an all-purpose cleaner or any mold killing cleaner and a soft sponge.  Avoid using bleach and any abrasive cleaning instruments as this may aggravate and spread the mold spores.  Once the affected areas are cleaned, allow them to dry completely.


Controlling indoor moisture can be done by following the tips below:

  • Ensure all exhaust fans (kitchen/bathroom) are vented outside.
  • Turn on the bathroom fan when showering and leave it on until all the steam is gone.
  • Make sure your clothes dryer vents outside your home or apartment.
  • Fix any leaks in your roof, walls, or plumbing so mold cannot grow. Replace any damaged drywall or floor, wall, ceiling materials that cannot be dried completely within 24-48 hours.
  • Use air conditioners or dehumidifiers to decrease indoor humidity levels.
  • Add mold inhibitors to paint or purchase paint that contains mold inhibitors. These items can be found at any home improvement store.
  • Avoid installing carpet in moist areas such as bathrooms and basements.

Some places, such as basements and bathrooms where it is always damp are very difficult to maintain completely mold free. Increasing ventilation and cleaning more frequently will keep mold growth to a minimum or prevent mold from reoccurring.


Child elevated blood lead levels have made headlines in the past year, but the average child blood lead level is the lowest it has been in forty years.  There are many factors that have influenced this decrease.  The identification of exposure sources caused the allowable limits in consumer products to be decreased or eliminated completely.  For example, lead based paint was phased out of use in 1977 and was banned from residential use January, 1 1978.  Lead was also phased out of use in gasoline in 1980, one of the largest contributors to elevated blood lead levels.  Additionally, the Consumer Product Safety Commission enacted stricter limits on toys and imported products.

Lead poisoning in children can cause serious health effects, but is easily prevented.  The two main modes of transmission of lead into the body are through inhalation and ingestion.  In other words, breathing in lead dust particles, eating lead based paint chips, or consuming anything with lead.  Children at the highest risk for elevated blood lead levels are those under six years of age that live in apartments or homes that were built before 1978.  These children are at the most risk due to their hand-mouth behaviors, and the high probability of deteriorated lead based paint in their environment.

Tips to avoid elevated blood lead levels

  • Use HEPA vacuums.  Lead dust particles are very small and will not be collected by an average vacuum.
  • Clean windows and window sills with damp cloths.  This is also referred to as wet cleaning.  If lead dust is present, the damp cloth will keep the dust from becoming airborne.
  • Keep children away from areas in the house where paint is peeling or chipping.  This is typically seen on friction and impact surfaces of windows and doors
  • If you cannot keep your children away from peeling/chipping paint, keep doors and windows closed or tape the peeling/chipping areas with duct tape.
  • Flush faucet water for 3-5 minutes before using.

Lead Poisoning Prevention and Control Regulations

These regulations were established by the Director of Health as authorized by Chapter 364-14 and take effect immediately. Click on the link above to view the Regulations. Click on the link below to view the ordinance.

Lead Poisoning Prevention and Control Ordinance

Contact Information
Stevie Rose Wolst
Environmental Field Services Manager

Allentown City Hall
435 Hamilton St., 4th Floor
Allentown PA, 18101

Phone: 610-437-7759
Fax: 610-439-5946