lead Issues

Lead in Paint, Dust, and Soil

Did you know the following facts about lead?

FACT: Lead exposure can harm young children and babies even before they are born.

FACT: Even children who seem healthy can have high levels of lead in their bodies.

FACT: You can get lead in your body by breathing or swallowing lead dust, or by eating soil or paint chips containing lead.

FACT: You have many options for reducing lead hazards. In most cases, lead-based paint that is in good condition is not a hazard.

FACT: Removing lead-based paint improperly can increase the danger to your family.

If you think your home might have lead hazards, read on to learn about lead and some simple steps to protect your family.

Health Effects of Lead

*Childhood lead poisoning remains a major environmental health problem in the U.S.

*Even children who appear healthy can have dangerous levels of lead in their bodies.

Where Lead is Found

*In general, the older your home, the more likely it has lead-based paint. *

Where Lead is Likely to be a Hazard

*Lead from paint chips, which you can see, and lead dust, which you can't always see, can be serious hazards.* 

Checking Your Family and Home for Lead

*Get your children and home tested if you think your home has high levels of lead.*

*Just knowing that a home has lead-based paint may not tell you if there is a hazard.*

To reduce your child's exposure to lead, get your child checked, have your home tested (especially if your home has paint in poor condition and was built before 1978), and fix any hazards you may have.

Your Family

Children's blood lead levels tend to increase rapidly from 6 to 12 months of age, and tend to peak at 18 to 24 months of age. Consult your doctor for advice on testing your children. A simple blood test can detect high levels of lead. Blood tests are important for:

Your Home

You can get your home checked in one of two ways, or both:

A paint inspection tells you the lead content of every different type of painted surface in your home. It won't tell you whether the paint is a hazard or how you should deal with it. A risk assessment tells you if there are any sources of serious lead exposure (such as peeling paint and lead dust). It also tells you what actions to take to address these hazards. Have qualified professionals do the work. There are standards in place for certifying lead-based paint professionals to ensure the work is done safely, reliably, and effectively. Contact the National Lead Information Center (NLIC) for a list of contacts in your area.

Trained professionals use a range of methods when checking your home, including:

Note: Home test kits for lead are available, but studies suggest that they are not always accurate. Consumers should not rely on these tests before doing renovations or to assure safety.

What You Can do to Protect Your Family

If you suspect that your house has lead hazards, you can take some immediate steps to reduce your family's risk:

In addition to day-to-day cleaning and good nutrition:


Are You Planning to Buy or Rent a Home Built Before 1978?

Many houses and apartments built before 1978 have paint that contains lead (called lead-based paint). Lead from paint, chips, and dust can pose serious health hazards if not taken care of properly.

Federal law requires that individuals receive certain information before renting or buying a pre-1978 housing:


Remodeling or Renovating a Home with Lead-Based Paint

*If not conducted properly, certain types of renovations can release lead from paint and dust into the air.*

Many houses and apartments built before 1978 have paint that contains lead (called lead-based paint). Lead from paint, chips, and dust can pose serious health hazards if not taken care of properly.