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Resources on Lead-safe Practices Lead-Based Paint
In and Around Your Home
Sources of Further Assistance

Homes and apartments built before 1978 may have interior and exterior paint and varnishes that contain lead. In that year the Consumer Product Safety Commission banned lead based paints and varnishes from residential use. Any home built prior to the ban in 1978 is suspect for lead-based paint unless it has been certified as lead-free. Older cribs, chairs and other painted furniture may also have paint that contains lead. Lead from paint, found in chips, dust and often soil, can be dangerous if not managed properly.

What can you do?

Lead based paint that is in good condition is usually not a hazard, however, paint chips and lead dust can be serious hazards. The pamphlet Protect Your Family From Lead in Your Home provides steps to reduce the risk of lead in and around your home. Prior to remodeling or renovation activity that will disturb painted surfaces, you should consult or hire a professional who is specifically trained for lead inspection and correction.

Some contractors are trained to follow lead-safe work practices during renovation and weatherization projects. All contractors and subcontractors are responsible for following proper lead-safe work practices to protect themselves as well as the occupants from lead exposure. Be sure to discuss the potential of lead with them. Ask about specific lead-safe training that they and their workers have completed, certification that they may have received, and find out about the lead-safe work practices that they will follow while at your home.

Why is lead a concern?

  • Lead is poisonous and is considered a hazardous material by the Environmental Protection Agency.
  • Lead can enter the body by breathing or swallowing lead dust, or by eating soil or paint chips with lead in them.
  • Lead accumulates in the bones after circulating through the body and negatively affects every major bodily system. Damage to the brain and nervous system may affect the memory, concentration and create behavioral and learning problems. Children may have impaired growth and hearing, while adults may suffer from high blood pressure, digestive problems, nerve disorders and muscle and joint pain. Both men and women may also have reproductive problems.
  • Lead is particularly harmful to children and pregnant women. Children often put their hands and objects that may contain lead dust into their mouths. Children's growing bodies absorb more lead than adults and their brains and nervous systems are more sensitive to damage from lead. For women, lead can lead to difficulties during pregnancy.
  • Lead dust can be easily transferred from a jobsite to other areas of the home, or to other homes putting workers and their families at risk unless proper precautions are followed.
  • People may appear healthy even with high levels of lead in their system. A simple blood test can detect high levels of lead in the body.

Whether you hire a contractor or do the work yourself, be sure to read and follow the guidelines discussed in Reducing Lead Hazards When Remodeling Your Home to protect yourself and others from lead exposure.

Resources on lead-safe practices:

Protect Your Family From Lead In Your Home -
This pamphlet provides general homeowner guidance for day-to-day lead-safe practices plus potential sources of lead besides paint, when to contact a professional, and steps for checking your family for lead. EPA-747-K-99-001

Identifying Lead Hazards In Your Home -
This factsheet discusses lead hazards in paint, dust and soil. It will help the homeowner identify when lead may be a hazard, provides standards for unacceptable concentration levels in dust and soil, and discusses testing procedures. EPA-747-F-96-007

Reducing Lead Hazards When Remodeling Your Home -
A must-read for the do-it-yourself resident. This comprehensive guide provides an overview of the hazards, a list of appropriate equipment to use and details on safe work and cleanup practices for small and large do-it-yourself projects. It includes a checklist and contact numbers for additional information. EPA 747-K-97-001

The Lead-based Paint Pre-Renovation Education Rule -
For contractors, property managers and maintenance personnel in residential housing that may contain lead-based paint. This booklet outlines the federal "Lead PRE Rule" requiring advance notification of residents and distribution of educational materials prior to activities that disturb painted surfaces. EPA 747-B-99-004

View the above resources by clicking on the underlined text or order copies . . .

by mail:
P.O. Box 42419
Cincinnati, Ohio 45242-0419
by phone:
Call 1-800-490-9198 or (513) 489-8190
(Operator - Monday through Friday, 7:30 AM - 5:30 PM, E.S.T. or leave an order 24 hours a day.)


Sources of further assistance:

The Lead Listing -
This site helps consumers locate qualified lead service providers, renovators trained in lead-safe practices, EPA-recognized lead analysis laboratories, and lead training providers. "Questions and Answers" provides a first stop to direct the consumer to the information that they seek. This is not a comprehensive list, providers appear voluntarily and are not endorsed by the authors.

National Lead Information Center Hotline - 1-800-424-LEAD, (1-800-424-5323) - email:
The Environmental Health Center (EHC) of the National Safety Council manages the National Lead Information Center (NLIC) under a cooperative agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency. The Hotline distributes a basic information packet on lead that includes the EPA brochure "Lead Poisoning and Your Children," three fact sheets, and a list of state and local contacts for additional information. The Center can also assist in locating a qualified professional.

Healthy Indoor Air for America's Homes - 1-888-678-6872 (in Montana), 1- 406-994-3531 (outside Montana)
The goal of this Program is to educate consumers about sources, health risks, and control measures related to common residential indoor air quality (IAQ) problems including lead, and to help consumers reduce their health risks from these problems. Also provides educator resources, training manuals and state-by-state contacts.

Government Environmental Agencies -
Search for federal or state agency contacts. Ask for lead specialists within these agencies for more general information, certification requirements and local lists of certified contractors.


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