Simple Steps To Protect Your Family
From Lead Hazards Protect
If you think your home has high
levels of lead:
N Get your young children tested for lead, even if
they seem healthy.
N Wash children’s hands, bottles, pacifiers, and toys
N Make sure children eat healthy, low-fat foods.
N Get your home checked for lead hazards.
N Regularly clean floors, window sills, and other
surfaces. Lead In
N Wipe soil off shoes before entering house.
N Talk to your landlord about fixing surfaces with
peeling or chipping paint.
N Take precautions to avoid exposure to lead dust
when remodeling or renovating (call 1-800-424-
LEAD for guidelines).
N Don’t use a belt-sander, propane torch, high
temperature heat gun, scraper, or sandpaper on
painted surfaces that may contain lead.
N Don’t try to remove lead-based paint yourself. United States
Department of Housing
and Urban Development
Printed with vegetable oil based inks on recycled paper
(minimum 50% postconsumer) process chlorine free.
Are You Planning To Buy, Rent, or Renovate IMPORTANT!
a Home Built Before 1978?
any houses and apartments built before 1978 have
paint that contains high levels of lead (called lead- Lead From Paint, Dust, and
based paint). Lead from paint, chips, and dust can Soil Can Be Dangerous If Not
pose serious health hazards if not taken care of properly. Managed Properly
OWNERS, BUYERS, and RENTERS are FACT: Lead exposure can harm young
encouraged to check for lead (see page 6) children and babies even before they
before renting, buying or renovating pre- are born.
FACT: Even children who seem healthy can
have high levels of lead in their bodies.
ederal law requires that individuals receive certain
FACT: People can get lead in their bodies by
information before renting, buying, or renovating
breathing or swallowing lead dust, or by
eating soil or paint chips containing
LANDLORDS have to disclose known infor-
mation on lead-based paint and lead-based FACT: People have many options for reducing
paint hazards before leases take effect. lead hazards. In most cases, lead-based
Leases must include a disclosure about paint that is in good condition is not a
lead-based paint. hazard.
FACT: Removing lead-based paint improperly
SELLERS have to disclose known informa- can increase the danger to your family.
tion on lead-based paint and lead-based
paint hazards before selling a house. Sales
If you think your home might have lead
contracts must include a disclosure about
hazards, read this pamphlet to learn some
lead-based paint. Buyers have up to 10
simple steps to protect your family.
days to check for lead.
RENOVATORS disturbing more than 2 square
feet of painted surfaces have to give you
this pamphlet before starting work.
Lead Gets in the Body in Many Ways
It is important to know that even exposure
to low levels of lead can severely harm
People can get lead in their body if they: children.
N Breathe in lead dust (especially during In children, lead can cause:
lead renovations that disturb painted
poisoning N Nervous system and kidney damage.
Brain or Nerve Damage
remains a N Learning disabilities, attention deficit
N Put their hands or other objects
major disorder, and decreased intelligence. Hearing
covered with lead dust in their mouths. Problems
environmen- N Speech, language, and behavior
N Eat paint chips or soil that contains
tal health problems.
problem in N Poor muscle coordination.
the U.S. Lead is even more dangerous to children N Decreased muscle and bone growth. Growth
under the age of 6:
N Hearing damage.
N At this age children’s brains and nervous
systems are more sensitive to the dam- While low-lead exposure is most
aging effects of lead. common, exposure to high levels of
lead can have devastating effects on
Even children N Children’s growing bodies absorb more children, including seizures, uncon-
who appear lead. sciousness, and, in some cases, death.
healthy can N Babies and young children often put
have danger- Although children are especially
their hands and other objects in their susceptible to lead exposure, lead
ous levels of mouths. These objects can have lead
lead in their can be dangerous for adults too.
dust on them. Digestive
bodies. In adults, lead can cause: Problems
Lead is also dangerous to women of N Increased chance of illness during Reproductive
childbearing age: pregnancy. Adults)
N Women with a high lead level in their N Harm to a fetus, including brain
system prior to pregnancy would expose damage or death. Lead affects
a fetus to lead through the placenta N Fertility problems (in men and women). the body in
during fetal development. many ways.
N High blood pressure.
N Digestive problems.
N Nerve disorders.
N Memory and concentration problems.
N Muscle and joint pain.
Where Lead-Based Paint Is Found Identifying Lead Hazards
Many homes built before 1978 have lead- Lead-based paint is usually not a hazard if
the older your
based paint. The federal government it is in good condition, and it is not on an Lead from
banned lead-based paint from housing in impact or friction surface, like a window. It paint chips,
home, the 1978. Some states stopped its use even is defined by the federal government as which you
more likely it earlier. Lead can be found: paint with lead levels greater than or equal
to 1.0 milligram per square centimeter, or can see, and
has lead- N In homes in the city, country, or suburbs.
more than 0.5% by weight. lead dust,
based paint. N In apartments, single-family homes, and
Deteriorating lead-based paint (peeling, which you
both private and public housing.
chipping, chalking, cracking or damaged) can’t always
N Inside and outside of the house. is a hazard and needs immediate attention. see, can both
N In soil around a home. (Soil can pick up It may also be a hazard when found on sur- be serious
lead from exterior paint or other sources faces that children can chew or that get a hazards.
such as past use of leaded gas in cars.) lot of wear-and-tear, such as:
N Windows and window sills.
Checking Your Family for Lead N Doors and door frames.
To reduce your child's exposure to lead, N Stairs, railings, banisters, and porches.
Get your get your child checked, have your home Lead dust can form when lead-based paint is scraped, sanded, or
children and tested (especially if your home has paint heated. Dust also forms when painted surfaces bump or rub togeth-
home tested in poor condition and was built before er. Lead chips and dust can get on surfaces and objects that people
if you think 1978), and fix any hazards you may have. touch. Settled lead dust can re-enter the air when people vacuum,
Children's blood lead levels tend to increase sweep, or walk through it. The following two federal standards have
your home rapidly from 6 to 12 months of age, and been set for lead hazards in dust:
has high lev- tend to peak at 18 to 24 months of age.
N 40 micrograms per square foot (µg/ft2) and higher for floors,
els of lead. Consult your doctor for advice on testing including carpeted floors.
your children. A simple blood test can N 250 µg/ft2 and higher for interior window sills.
detect high levels of lead. Blood tests are
usually recommended for: Lead in soil can be a hazard when children play in bare soil or
when people bring soil into the house on their shoes. The following
N Children at ages 1 and 2. two federal standards have been set for lead hazards in residential
N Children or other family members who soil:
have been exposed to high levels of lead. N 400 parts per million (ppm) and higher in play areas of bare soil.
N Children who should be tested under N 1,200 ppm (average) and higher in bare soil in the remainder of
your state or local health screening plan. the yard.
Your doctor can explain what the test results The only way to find out if paint, dust and soil lead hazards exist is
mean and if more testing will be needed. to test for them. The next page describes the most common meth-
Checking Your Home for Lead What You Can Do Now To Protect
You can get your home tested for lead in
Just knowing several different ways: If you suspect that your house has lead
that a home N A paint inspection tells you whether your hazards, you can take some immediate
has lead- home has lead-based paint and where it steps to reduce your family’s risk:
based paint is located. It won’t tell you whether or not N If you rent, notify your landlord of
may not tell your home currently has lead hazards. peeling or chipping paint.
you if there N A risk assessment tells you if your home N Clean up paint chips immediately.
is a hazard. currently has any lead hazards from lead
N Clean floors, window frames, window
in paint, dust, or soil. It also tells you what sills, and other surfaces weekly. Use a
actions to take to address any hazards. mop or sponge with warm water and a
N A combination risk assessment and general all-purpose cleaner or a cleaner
inspection tells you if your home has made specifically for lead. REMEMBER:
any lead hazards and if your home has NEVER MIX AMMONIA AND BLEACH
any lead-based paint, and where the PRODUCTS TOGETHER SINCE THEY
lead-based paint is located. CAN FORM A DANGEROUS GAS.
Hire a trained and certified testing profes- N Thoroughly rinse sponges and mop
sional who will use a range of reliable heads after cleaning dirty or dusty
methods when testing your home. areas.
N Visual inspection of paint condition N Wash children’s hands often, especial-
and location. ly before they eat and before nap time
and bed time.
N A portable x-ray fluorescence (XRF)
machine. N Keep play areas clean. Wash bottles,
pacifiers, toys, and stuffed animals
N Lab tests of paint, dust, and soil regularly.
N Keep children from chewing window
There are state and federal programs in sills or other painted surfaces.
place to ensure that testing is done safely, N Clean or remove shoes before
reliably, and effectively. Contact your state entering your home to avoid
or local agency (see bottom of page 11) for tracking in lead from soil.
more information, or call 1-800-424-LEAD
(5323) for a list of contacts in your area. N Make sure children eat
nutritious, low-fat meals high
Home test kids for lead are available, but in iron and calcium, such as
may not always be accurate. Consumers spinach and dairy products.
should not rely on these kits before doing Children with good diets absorb
renovations or to assure safety. less lead.
Reducing Lead Hazards In The Home Remodeling or Renovating a Home With
In addition to day-to-day cleaning and good
Removing nutrition: Take precautions before your contractor or
lead N You can temporarily reduce lead hazards you begin remodeling or renovating any-
improperly by taking actions such as repairing dam- thing that disturbs painted surfaces (such
can increase aged painted surfaces and planting grass as scraping off paint or tearing out walls):
the hazard to to cover soil with high lead levels. These N Have the area tested for lead-based
actions (called “interim controls”) are not paint.
your family permanent solutions and will need ongo-
by spreading ing attention. N Do not use a belt-sander, propane
even more torch, high temperature heat gun, dry
N To permanently remove lead hazards, scraper, or dry sandpaper to remove
lead dust you should hire a certified lead “abate- lead-based paint. These actions create
around the ment” contractor. Abatement (or perma- large amounts of lead dust and fumes.
house. nent hazard elimination) methods Lead dust can remain in your home If not
include removing, sealing, or enclosing long after the work is done.
Always use a lead-based paint with special materials. conducted
N Temporarily move your family (espe- properly,
professional who Just painting over the hazard with regular
cially children and pregnant women)
is trained to paint is not permanent removal. out of the apartment or house until
remove lead Always hire a person with special training the work is done and the area is prop- of renova-
hazards safely. tions can
for correcting lead problems—someone erly cleaned. If you can’t move your
who knows how to do this work safely and family, at least completely seal off the release lead
has the proper equipment to clean up work area. from paint
thoroughly. Certified contractors will employ N Follow other safety measures to and dust into
qualified workers and follow strict safety reduce lead hazards. You can find out
rules as set by their state or by the federal the air.
about other safety measures by calling
government. 1-800-424-LEAD. Ask for the brochure
Once the work is completed, dust cleanup “Reducing Lead Hazards When
activities must be repeated until testing Remodeling Your Home.” This brochure
indicates that lead dust levels are below the explains what to do before, during,
following: and after renovations.
N 40 micrograms per square foot (µg/ft2) If you have already completed renova-
for floors, including carpeted floors; tions or remodeling that could have
released lead-based paint or dust, get
N 250 µg/ft2 for interior windows sills; and your young children tested and follow
N 400 µg/ft2 for window troughs. the steps outlined on page 7 of this
Call your state or local agency (see bottom
of page 11) for help in locating certified
professionals in your area and to see if
8 financial assistance is available. 9
Other Sources of Lead For More Information
N Drinking water. Your home might have The National Lead Information Center
plumbing with lead or lead solder. Call Call 1-800-424-LEAD (424-5323) to learn
your local health department or water how to protect children from lead poisoning
supplier to find out about testing your and for other information on lead hazards.
water. You cannot see, smell, or taste To access lead information via the web, visit
lead, and boiling your water will not get www.epa.gov/lead and
rid of lead. If you think your plumbing www.hud.gov/offices/lead/.
might have lead in it: EPA’s Safe Drinking Water Hotline
• Use only cold water for drinking and Call 1-800-426-4791 for information about
While paint, dust, cooking. lead in drinking water.
and soil are the Consumer Product Safety
• Run water for 15 to 30 seconds
before drinking it, especially if you Commission (CPSC) Hotline
sources of lead,
other lead have not used your water for a few To request information on lead in
sources also exist. hours. consumer products, or to report an
N The job. If you work with lead, you unsafe consumer product or a prod-
could bring it home on your hands or uct-related injury call 1-800-638-
clothes. Shower and change clothes 2772, or visit CPSC's Web site at:
before coming home. Launder your work www.cpsc.gov.
clothes separately from the rest of your Health and Environmental Agencies
family’s clothes. Some cities, states, and tribes have
their own rules for lead-based paint
N Old painted toys and furniture.
activities. Check with your local agency to
N Food and liquids stored in lead crystal see which laws apply to you. Most agencies
or lead-glazed pottery or porcelain. can also provide information on finding a
N Lead smelters or other industries that lead abatement firm in your area, and on
release lead into the air. possible sources of financial aid for reducing
lead hazards. Receive up-to-date address
N Hobbies that use lead, such as making and phone information for your local con-
pottery or stained glass, or refinishing tacts on the Internet at www.epa.gov/lead
furniture. or contact the National Lead Information
N Folk remedies that contain lead, such as Center at 1-800-424-LEAD.
“greta” and “azarcon” used to treat an
upset stomach. For the hearing impaired, call the Federal Information
Relay Service at 1-800-877-8339 to access any of
the phone numbers in this brochure.
EPA Regional Offices CPSC Regional Offices
Your Regional EPA Office can provide further information regard- Your Regional CPSC Office can provide further information regard-
ing regulations and lead protection programs. ing regulations and consumer product safety.
EPA Regional Offices Eastern Regional Center Western Regional Center
Region 1 (Connecticut, Massachusetts, Region 6 (Arkansas, Louisiana, New Consumer Product Safety Commission Consumer Product Safety Commission
Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas) 201 Varick Street, Room 903 1301 Clay Street, Suite 610-N
Vermont) New York, NY 10014 Oakland, CA 94612
Regional Lead Contact (212) 620-4120 (510) 637-4050
Regional Lead Contact U.S. EPA Region 6
U.S. EPA Region 1 1445 Ross Avenue, 12th Floor
Suite 1100 (CPT) Dallas, TX 75202-2733 Central Regional Center
One Congress Street (214) 665-7577 Consumer Product Safety Commission
Boston, MA 02114-2023 230 South Dearborn Street, Room 2944
1 (888) 372-7341 Chicago, IL 60604
Region 7 (Iowa, Kansas, Missouri,
Region 2 (New Jersey, New York, Nebraska)
Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands)
Regional Lead Contact
Regional Lead Contact U.S. EPA Region 7
U.S. EPA Region 2 (ARTD-RALI)
2890 Woodbridge Avenue
Building 209, Mail Stop 225
901 N. 5th Street
Kansas City, KS 66101
HUD Lead Office
Edison, NJ 08837-3679 (913) 551-7020
Region 8 (Colorado, Montana, North Please contact HUD's Office of Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard
Region 3 (Delaware, Maryland,
Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington DC,
Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, Wyoming) Control for information on lead regulations, outreach efforts, and
West Virginia) Regional Lead Contact lead hazard control and research grant programs.
U.S. EPA Region 8
Regional Lead Contact 999 18th Street, Suite 500
U.S. EPA Region 3 (3WC33) Denver, CO 80202-2466
1650 Arch Street U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
(303) 312-6021 Office of Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Control
Philadelphia, PA 19103
(215) 814-5000 451 Seventh Street, SW, P-3206
Washington, DC 20410
Region 4 (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Region 9 (Arizona, California, Hawaii, (202) 755-1785
Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, Nevada)
South Carolina, Tennessee) Regional Lead Contact
Regional Lead Contact U.S. Region 9
U.S. EPA Region 4 75 Hawthorne Street
61 Forsyth Street, SW San Francisco, CA 94105 This document is in the public domain. It may be reproduced by an individual or
Atlanta, GA 30303 (415) 947-4164 organization without permission. Information provided in this booklet is based
(404) 562-8998 upon current scientific and technical understanding of the issues presented and
Region 10 (Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, is reflective of the jurisdictional boundaries established by the statutes governing
Region 5 (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Washington)
Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin) the co-authoring agencies. Following the advice given will not necessarily pro-
Regional Lead Contact vide complete protection in all situations or against all health hazards that can
Regional Lead Contact
U.S. EPA Region 10 be caused by lead exposure.
U.S. EPA Region 5 (DT-8J)
Toxics Section WCM-128
77 West Jackson Boulevard 1200 Sixth Avenue
Chicago, IL 60604-3666 Seattle, WA 98101-1128 U.S. EPA Washington DC 20460 EPA747-K-99-001
(312) 886-6003 (206) 553-1985 U.S. CPSC Washington DC 20207 June 2003
U.S. HUD Washington DC 20410