PROTECT YOUR FAMILY FROM
LEAD IN YOUR HOME
PROTECT YOUR FAMILY FROM
WHERE LEAD-BASED PAINT IS FOUND
*In general, the older your home, the more likely it has lead-based paint. *
Many homes built before 1978 have lead-based paint. In 1978, the federal government banned lead-based paint from housing. Lead can be found:
- In homes in the city, country, or suburbs.
- In apartments, single-family homes, and both private and public housing.
- Inside and outside of the house.
- In soil around a home. (Soil can pick up lead from exterior paint, or other sources such as past use of leaded gas in cars.)
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 both be serious hazards.*
Lead-based paint that is in good condition is usually not a hazard.
Peeling, chipping, chalking, or cracking lead-based paint is a hazard and needs immediate attention.
Lead-based paint may also be a hazard when found on surfaces that children can chew or that get a lot of wear-and-tear. These areas include:
Lead dust can form when lead-based paint is dry scraped, drysanded, or heated. Dust also forms when painted surfaces bump or rub together. Lead chips and dust can get on surfaces and objects that people touch. Settled lead dust can reenter the air when people vacuum, sweep, or walk through it.
- Windows and window sills.
- Doors and door frames.
- Stairs, railings, and banisters.
- Porches and fences.
Lead in soil can be a hazard when children play in bare soil or when people bring soil into the house on their shoes. Call your state agency (see below) to find out about soil testing for lead.
CHECKING YOUR HOME FOR LEAD HAZARDS
*Just knowing that a home has lead-based paint may not tell you if there is a hazard.*
You can get your home checked for lead hazards in one of two ways, or both:
Have qualified professionals do the work. The federal government is writing standards for inspectors and risk assessors. Some states might already have standards in place. Call your state agency for help with locating qualified professionals in your area (see below).
- A paint inspection tells you the lead content of every 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.
Trained professionals use a range of methods when checking your home, including:
Home test kits for lead are available, but the federal government is still testing their reliability. These tests should not be the only method used before doing renovations or to assure safety.
- Visual inspection of paint condition and location.
- Lab tests of paint samples.
- Surface dust tests.
- A portable x-ray fluorescence machine.
WHAT YOU CAN DO NOW 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:
- If you rent, notify your landlord of peeling or chipping paint.
- Clean up paint chips immediately.
- Clean floors, window frames, window sills, and other surfaces weekly. Use a mop or sponge with warm water and a general all-purpose cleaner or a cleaner made specifically for lead. REMEMBER: NEVER MIX AMMONIA AND BLEACH PRODUCTS TOGETHER SINCETHEY CAN FORM A DANGEROUS GAS.
- Thoroughly rinse sponges and mop heads after cleaning dirty or dusty areas.
- Wash children's hands often, especially before they eat and before nap time and bed time.
- Keep play areas clean. Wash bottles, pacifiers, toys, and stuffed animals regularly.
- Keep children from chewing window sills or other painted surfaces.
- Clean or remove shoes before entering your home to avoid tracking in lead from soil.
- Make sure children eat nutritious, low-fat meals high in iron and calcium, such as spinach and low-fat dairy products. Children with good diets absorb less lead.
HOW TO SIGNIFICANTLY REDUCE LEAD HAZARDS
*Removing lead improperly can increase the hazard to your family by spreading even more lead dust around the house.*
*Always use a professional who is trained to remove lead hazards safely.*
In addition to day-to-day cleaning and good nutrition:
Always hire a person with special training for correcting lead problems--someone who knows how to do this work safely and has the proper equipment to clean up thoroughly. If possible, hire a certified lead abatement contractor. Certified contractors will employ qualified workers and follow strict safety rules as set by their state or by the federal government.
- You can temporarily reduce lead hazards by taking actions like repairing damaged painted surfaces and planting grass to cover soil with high lead levels. These actions (called "interim controls") are not permanent solutions and will not eliminate all risks of exposure.
- To permanently remove lead hazards, you must hire a lead "abatement" contractor. Abatement (or permanent hazard elimination) methods include removing, sealing, or enclosing lead-based paint with special materials. Just painting over the hazard with regular paint is not enough.
Call your state agency (see below) for help with locating qualified contractors in your area and to see if financial assistance is available.
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.*
Take precautions before you begin remodeling or renovations that disturb painted surfaces (such as scraping off paint or tearing out walls):
If you have already completed renovations or remodeling that could have released lead-based paint or dust, get your young children tested and follow the steps outlined above in this brochure.
- Have the area tested for lead-based paint.
- Do not use a dry scraper, belt-sander, propane torch, or heat gun to remove lead-based paint. These actions create large amounts of lead dust and fumes. Lead dust can remain in your home long after the work is done.
- Temporarily move your family (especially children and pregnant women) out of the apartment or house until the work is done and the area is properly cleaned. If you can't move your family, at least completely seal off the work area.
- Follow other safety measures to reduce lead hazards. You can find out about other safety measures by calling 1-800-424-LEAD.Ask for the brochure "Reducing Lead Hazards When Remodeling Your Home." This brochure explains what to do before, during, and after renovations.
OTHER SOURCES OF LEAD
*While paint, dust, and soil are the most common lead hazards, other lead sources also exist.*
- Drinking water. Your home might have plumbing with lead or lead solder. Call your local health department or water supplier to find out about testing your water. You cannot see, smell, or taste lead, and boiling your water will not get rid of lead. If you think your plumbing might have lead in it:
- Use only cold water for drinking and cooking.
- Run water for 15 to 30 seconds before drinking it, especially if you have not used your water for a few hours.
- The job. If you work with lead, you could bring it home on your hands or clothes. Shower and change clothes before coming home. Launder your clothes separately from the rest of your family's.
- Old painted toys and furniture.
- Food and liquids stored in lead crystal or lead-glazed pottery or porcelain.
- Lead smelters or other industries that release lead into the air.
- Hobbies that use lead, such as making pottery or stained glass, or refinishing furniture.
- Folk remedies that contain lead, such as "greta" and "azarcon" used to treat an upset stomach.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
The National Lead Information Center
Call 1-800-LEAD-FYI to learn how to protect children from lead poisoning.
For other information on lead hazards, call the center's clearinghouse at 1-800-424-LEAD. For the hearing impaired, call, TDD 1-800-526-5456
EPA's Safe Drinking Water Hotline
Call 1-800-426-4791 for information about lead in drinking water.
Consumer Product Safety Commission Hotline
To request information on lead in consumer products, or to report an unsafe consumer product or a product-related injury call1-800-638-2772. (Internet: email@example.com). For the hearing impaired, call TDD 1-800-638-8270.
STATE HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL AGENCIES
Some cities and states have their own rules for lead-based paint activities. Check with your state agency (listed below) to see if state or local laws apply to you. Most state agencies can also provide information on finding a lead abatement firm in your area, and on possible sources of financial aid for reducing lead hazards.
State/Region Phone Number
Alabama (205) 242-5661
Alaska (907) 465-5152
Arkansas (501) 661-2534
Arizona (602) 542-7307
California (510) 450-2424
Colorado (303) 692-3012
Connecticut (203) 566-5808
Washington, DC (202) 727-9850
Delaware (302) 739-4735
Florida (904) 488-3385
Georgia (404) 657-6514
Hawaii (808) 832-5860
Idaho (208) 332-5544
Illinois (800) 545-2200
Indiana (317) 382-6662
Iowa (800) 972-2026
Kansas (913) 296-0189
Kentucky (502) 564-2154
Louisiana (504) 765-0219
Massachusetts (800) 532-9571
Maryland (410) 631-3859
Maine (207) 287-4311
Michigan (517) 335-8885
Minnesota (612) 627-5498
Mississippi (601) 960-7463
Missouri (314) 526-4911
Montana (406) 444-3671
Nebraska (402) 471-2451
Nevada (702) 687-6615
New Hampshire (603) 271-4507
New Jersey (609) 633-2043
New Mexico (505) 841-8024
New York (800) 458-1158
North Carolina (919) 715-3293
North Dakota (701) 328-5188
Ohio (614) 466-1450
Oklahoma (405) 271-5220
Oregon (503) 248-5240
Pennsylvania (717) 782-2884
Rhode Island (401) 277-3424
South Carolina (803) 935-7945
South Dakota (605) 773-3153
Tennessee (615) 741-5683
Texas (512) 834-6600
Utah (801) 536-4000
Vermont (802) 863-7231
Virginia (800) 523-4019
Washington (206) 753-2556
West Virginia (304) 558-2981
Wisconsin (608) 266-5885
Wyoming (307) 777-7391
EPA REGIONAL OFFICES
Your Regional EPA Office can provide further information regarding regulations and lead protection programs.
EPA Regional Offices
Region 1 (Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont)
John F. Kennedy Federal Building
One Congress Street
Boston, MA 02203
Region 2 (New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands)Building 5
2890 Woodbridge Avenue
Edison, NJ 08837-3679
Region 3 (Delaware, Washington DC, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia)
841 Chestnut Building
Philadelphia, PA 19107
Region 4 (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee)
345 Courtland Street, NE
Atlanta, GA 30365
Region 5 (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin)
77 West Jackson Boulevard
Chicago, IL 60604-3590
Region 6 (Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas)First Interstate Bank Tower
1445 Ross Avenue, 12th Floor, Suite 1200Dallas, TX 75202-2733
Region 7 (Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska)726 Minnesota Avenue
Kansas City, KS 66101
Region 8 (Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, Wyoming)
999 18th Street, Suite 500
Denver, CO 80202-2405
Region 9 (Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada)75 Hawthorne Street
San Francisco, CA 94105
Region 10 (Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Alaska)1200 Sixth Avenue
Seattle, WA 98101
CPSC REGIONAL OFFICES
Eastern Regional Center
6 World Trade Center
Vesey Street, Room 350
New York, NY 10048
Central Regional Center
230 South Dearborn Street
Chicago, IL 60604-1601
Western Regional Center
600 Harrison Street, Room 245
San Francisco, CA 94107
Written by: The Environmental Protection Agency
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