Protecting your family from lead hazards is critical if your home was built before 1978. Chips and dust from lead paint can pose serious health hazards if not taken care of properly.
If lead-based paint is in good condition, it is usually not an issue. However, when it is peeling, chipping, chalking, or cracking, it needs immediate attention. Settled lead dust can reenter the air when vacuumed, swept, or otherwise disturbed — even particles that have settle between windows can blow inside.
Lead outside your home can be a problem too. Your loved ones can come into contact with it when playing on bare soil and carry it into your house on their shoes. You must also be extra careful when painting the outside of your home. Any paint chips or scrapings with lead paint are not allowed to be in the yard. Not properly covering your yard and disposing of the hazardous material can be an expensive clean-up.
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How to Check for Lead-Based Paint
Qualified licensed professionals use a range of methods when checking a home, including visual inspection of paint condition and location, lab tests of paint samples, surface dust tests, and a portable x-ray fluorescence machine.
- Get a paint inspection – this will report the lead content of every painted surface in a home.
- Read the risk assessment -this explains if there are any sources of serious lead exposure (i.e. peeling paint or lead dust). It also explains what actions to take to address these hazards.
If you are buying, selling, renovating or renting a home federal law requires that all houses build prior to 1978, disclose the presence of any lead paint. Sellers must do this before selling a house.
Source: Consumer Product Safety Commission. For more information on lead hazards call the National Lead Information Center at