Lead can affect children’s brains and developing nervous systems, causing reduced IQ, learning disabilities, and behavioral problems. Lead is also harmful to adults. The most common way people are exposed to lead is from dust. Lead-based paint was used in more than 38 million homes until it was banned for residential use in 1978. Projects that disturb lead-based paint can create dust and endanger workers and residents in the home.
If you own or perform repairs at a property built before 1978, you are required to:
- Test painted surfaces for lead-based paint prior to beginning the work, or assume that the surfaces contain lead-based paint and use lead-safe work practices
- Do not use a belt-sander, propane torch, high temperature heat gun, dry scraper, or dry sandpaper to remove lead-based paint. These actions can create large amounts of lead dust or fumes
- Maintain painted surfaces in good repair
- Check impact or friction surfaces (windows and doors) for dust or deterioration
- Landlords have to disclose known information on lead-based paint and lead-based paint hazards before leases take effect
- Sellers have to disclose known information on lead-based paint and lead-based paint hazards before selling a house
Renovators disturbing painted surfaces have to give out the EPA’s
Renovate Right pamphlet
Federal law requires contractors that disturb lead-based paint in homes built before 1978 to be certified and follow specific work practices to prevent lead contamination.
Contractors who want information about working safely with lead should visit the
National Lead Information Center’s website
for information about courses and resources on lead-safe work practices.
For more information, call 1-800-424-LEAD (5323).
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