*Simple Steps To Protect Your Family From Lead Hazards*
If you think your home has high levels of lead:
* Get your young children tested for lead, even if they seem
* Wash children’s hands, bottles, pacifiers, and toys often.
* Make sure children eat healthy, low-fat foods.
* Get your home checked for lead hazards.
* Regularly clean floors, window sills, and other surfaces.
* Wipe soil off shoes before entering house.
* Talk to your landlord about fixing surfaces with peeling or
* Take precautions to avoid exposure to lead dust when remodeling
or renovating (call 1-800-424-LEAD for guidelines).
* Don’t use a belt-sander, propane torch, dry scraper, or dry
sandpaper on painted surfaces that may contain lead.
* Don’t try to remove lead-based paint yourself.
ARE YOU PLANNING TO BUY, RENT, OR RENOVATE A HOME BUILT BEFORE
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. By 1996, federal law will require that individuals
receive certain information before renting, buying, or renovating
LANDLORDS will have to disclose known information on lead-based
paint hazards before leases take effect. Leases will include a
federal form about lead-based paint.
SELLERS will have to disclose known information on lead-based
paint hazards before selling a house. Sales contracts will
include a federal form about lead-based paint in the building.
Buyers will have up to 10 days to check for lead hazards.
RENOVATORS will have to give you this pamphlet before starting
If you want more information on these requirements, call the
National Lead Information Clearinghouse at 1-800-424-LEAD.
This document is in the public domain. It may be reproduced by an
individual or organization without permission. Information
provided in this booklet is based upon current scientific and
technical understanding of the issues presented and is reflective
of the jurisdictional boundaries established by the statutes
governing the co-authoring agencies. Following the advice given
will not necessarily provide complete protection in all
situations or against all health hazards that can be caused by
*Lead From Paint, Dust, and Soil Can Be Dangerous If Not Managed
FACT: Lead exposure can harm young children and babies even
before they are born.
FACT: Even children that seem healthy can have high levels of
lead in their bodies.
FACT: People can get lead in their bodies by breathing or
swallowing lead dust, or by eating soil or paint chips with lead
FACT: People have many options for reducing lead hazards. In most
cases, lead-based paint that is in good condition is not a
FACT: Removing lead-based paint improperly can increase the
danger to your family.
If you think your home might have lead hazards, read this
pamphlet to learn some simple steps to protect your family.
LEAD GETS IN THE BODY IN MANY WAYS
*1 out of every 11 children in the United States has dangerous
levels of lead in the bloodstream.*
*Even children who appear healthy can have dangerous levels of
People can get lead in their body if they:
* Put their hands or other objects covered with lead dust in
* Eat paint chips or soil that contain lead.
* Breathe in lead dust (especially during renovations that
disturb painted surfaces).
Lead is even more dangerous to children than adults because:
* Babies and young children often put their hands and other
objects in their mouths. These objects can have lead dust on
* Children’s growing bodies absorb more lead.
* Children’s brains and nervous systems are more sensitive to the
damaging effects of lead.
If not detected early, children with high levels of lead in their
bodies can suffer from:
* Damage to the brain and nervous system
* Behavior and learning problems (such as hyperactivity)
* Slowed growth
* Hearing problems
Lead is also harmful to adults. Adults can suffer from:
* Difficulties during pregnancy
* Other reproductive problems (in both men and women)
* High blood pressure
* Digestive problems
* Nerve disorders
* Memory and concentration problems
* Muscle and joint pain
*Lead affects the body in many ways.*
CHECKING YOUR FAMILY FOR LEAD
*Get your children tested if you think your home has high levels
A simple blood test can detect high levels of lead. Blood tests
are important for:
* Children who are 6 months to 1 year old (6 months if you live
in an older home that might have lead in the paint).
* Family members that you think might have high levels of lead.
If your child is older than 1 year, talk to your doctor about
whether your child needs testing.
Your doctor or health center can do blood tests. They are
inexpensive and sometimes free. Your doctor will explain what the
test results mean. Treatment can range from changes in your diet
to medication or a hospital stay.
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
* 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
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
* Windows and window sills.
* Doors and door frames.
* Stairs, railings, and banisters.
* Porches and fences.
Lead dust can form when lead-based paint is dry scraped, dry
sanded, 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.
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:
* 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.
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).
Trained professionals use a range of methods when checking your
* Visual inspection of paint condition and location.
* Lab tests of paint samples.
* Surface dust tests.
* A portable x-ray fluorescence machine.
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.
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 SINCE
THEY CAN FORM A DANGEROUS GAS.
* Thoroughly rinse sponges and mop heads after cleaning dirty or
* 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
* 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
In addition to day-to-day cleaning and good nutrition:
* 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.
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.
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
* 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
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
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
* Lead smelters or other industries that release lead into the
* 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
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 (FAX: 202-659-1192, Internet: EHC@CAIS.COM).
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 call
1-800-638-2772. (Internet: firstname.lastname@example.org). 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
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
John F. Kennedy Federal Building
One Congress Street
Boston, MA 02203
Region 2 (New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands)
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,
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 1200
Dallas, 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,
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
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