Lead in Your Home

Common Lead Hazards in the Home
  • Lead based paint: Lead based paint that appears to be undisturbed can be a problem if it is on a surface that children chew or on a surface that gets a lot of wear and tear, Paint that is peeling, chipping, chalking or cracking, is also a concern. The areas of concern include the following; windows, window sills, doors, door frames, stairs, railings, banisters, porches and fences.
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  • Dust: Can be contaminated with lead base paint if it is dry scraped, sanded, or when the painted surfaces bump or rub together.
  • Soil: Can be contaminated with exterior lead based paint from houses, buildings or other structures that flake or peel and gets into the soil. Also soil near the roadways may also be contaminated from past leaded gasoline in cars. Avoid these areas when planting vegetable gardens.
  • Older plumbing fixtures: faucets, lead pipes and pipes connected with lead solder can contaminate drinking water. Older water well pumps made with brass or bronze parts that contain lead can also contaminate drinking water.
  • Vinyl mini blinds: Some imported, non-glossy vinyl mini blinds can be a lead hazard. The sunlight and heat can break down the blinds and may release lead contaminated dust. It's best to remove the blinds and purchase new blinds that say "new formulation" "non-leaded formula" "no lead added" or "new! non leaded vinyl formulation"
  • Painted toys and household furniture: made before 1978 may be painted with lead based paint. Do not let children chew on any older painted toys or furniture, such as cribs or playpens.
  • Lead-glazed ceramic ware, pottery, and leaded crystal: can contaminate food and liquids stored in them.

More information on Lead in the Home

Reducing Risk of Lead in the Home
  • Risk assessment: a risk assessor will tell you the sources of lead in your home and identify ways to control them.
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  • Inspection: a lead inspector tells you the lead content of every different type of painted surface in your home.
  • Interim Controls: temporarily reduce the risk of exposure to lead hazards by removing dust with HEPA filter-equipped vacuum, wet clean, repaint lead painted surfaces, repair friction and impact surfaces or plant grass to cover soil.
  • Abatement: is the permanent elimination of lead based paint hazards through replacement, enclosure, encapsulation or paint removal.
  • Routine Cleaning and Maintenance: use a wet sponge or mister to dampen and wipe down surfaces when cleaning. Never dry sweep or dust lead-painted surfaces.

Rules for Sellers, Landlords and Renovators
Buying a Home
If you plan on buying a home built before 1978, the seller must
  • Tell you about any known lead-based paint hazards in the home
  • Give records or reports about lead based paint hazards in the home
  • Give a copy of the EPA pamphlet titled Protect Your Family From Lead in Your Home.
  • Give a 10 day opportunity to test the home for lead
  • Include information in the sales contract
  • Keep the signed statement for 3 years.

The seller is not required to:
  • Test the home for lead
  • Remove any lead based paint hazards discovered during any testing that you have conducted.

Renting a Home
If you plan on renting housing built before 1978, the landlord must
  • Tell you about any known lead based paint hazards in the home
  • Give records or reports about lead based paint hazards in the home
  • Give a copy of the EPA pamphlet titled Protect Your Family From Lead in Your Home.
  • Include certain warning language in the rental contract and signed statement verifying that all requirements have been met.
  • Keep the signed statement for 3 years.
The landlord is not required to
  • Test the home for lead
  • Remove any lead based paint hazards
  • Give you 10 days to test for lead.

Remodeling and Renovation Rules

EPA's Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule (RRP Rule) requires that firms performing renovation, repair, and painting projects that disturb lead-based paint in homes, child care facilities and pre-schools built before 1978 have their firm certified by EPA (or an EPA authorized state), use certified renovators who are trained by EPA-approved training providers and follow lead-safe work practices. Locate a certified renovation and lead dust sampling technician firm.
Although the Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule does not apply to homeowners renovating, repairing, or painting their own homes, do-it-yourself projects can easily create dangerous lead dust. Protect your family and home – set up safely, control the dust, and clean up completely.
Follow these safeguards to prevent lead dust from spreading throughout your home:
  • Work safely
  • Get the right equipment
  • Follow good work practices
  • Consider hiring a certified lead abatement contractor or inspector before you disturb paint
  • Consider hiring a certified lead-safe RRP contractor to do the work

More information on Renovation, Remodeling and Repairs

Information from Environmental Protection Agency's(EPA) Lead in Your Home: A Parent's Reference Guide