Lead From Paint, Dust, and Soil in and
   Around Your Home Can Be Dangerous if
          Not Managed Properly

Children under 6 years old are most at risk for lead
poisoning in your home.

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

Homes, schools, and child care facilities built before 1978
are likely to contain lead-based paint.

Even children who seem healthy may have dangerous
levels of lead in their bodies.

Disturbing surfaces with lead-based paint or removing
lead-based paint improperly can increase the danger to
your family.

People can get lead into their bodies by breathing or
swallowing lead dust, or by eating soil or paint chips
containing lead.

People have many options for reducing lead hazards.
Generally, lead-based paint that is in good condition is not
a hazard (see page 10).
Lead in
                                                                        ** A h. *0,
          United States
          Protection Agency
      United States
      Consumer Product
      Safety Commission
                                                                                United States
                                                                              ° Department of Housing
                                                                                and Urban Development
                                               December 2012

Are You Planning to Buy or Rent a Home Built
Before 1978?
Did you know that many homes built before 1978 have lead-based
paint? Lead from paint, chips, and dust can pose serious health

Read this entire brochure to learn:

•  How lead gets into the body
•  About health effects of lead
•  What you can do to protect your family
•  Where to go for more information

Before renting or buying a pre-1978 home or apartment, federal
law requires:

•  Sellers must disclose known information on lead-based paint or lead-
  based paint hazards before selling a house.
•  Real estate sales contracts must include a specific warning statement
  about lead-based paint. Buyers have up to 10 days to check for lead.
•  Landlords  must disclose known information on lead-based paint
  and lead-based paint hazards before leases take effect. Leases must
  include a specific warning statement about lead-based paint.

If undertaking renovations, repairs, or painting (RRP) projects in
your pre-1978 home or apartment:

•  Read EPA's pamphlet, The Lead-Safe Certified Guide to Renovate Right,
  to learn about the lead-safe work practices that contractors are
  required to follow when working in your home (see page 12).

   Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)

   The CPSC protects the public against unreasonable risk of injury
   from consumer products through education, safety standards
   activities, and enforcement. Contact CPSC for further information
   regarding consumer product safety and regulations.

   4330 East West Highway
   Bethesda, MD 20814-4421
   1-800-638-2772 or

   U. S. Department of Housing and Urban
   Development (HUD)

   HDD's mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive
   communities and  quality affordable homes for all. Contact
   HUD's Office of Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Control for
   further information regarding the Lead Safe Housing Rule, which
   protects families in pre-1978 assisted housing, and for the lead
   hazard control and research grant programs.

   451 Seventh Street, SW, Room 8236
   Washington, DC 20410-3000
   (202) 402-7698
   This document is in the public domain. It may be produced 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 thejurisdictional 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
                                    Simple Steps to Protect Your Family
                                              from Lead Hazards
    U. S. EPA Washington DC 20460
    U. S. CPSC Bethesda MD 20814
    U. S. HUD Washington DC 20410
December 2012
                             If you think your home has lead-based paint:

                             • Don't try to remove lead-based paint yourself.

                             • Always keep painted surfaces in good condition to minimize

                             • Get your home checked for lead hazards. Find a certified
                              inspector or risk assessor at

                             • Talk to your landlord about fixing surfaces with peeling or
                              chipping paint.

                             • Regularly clean floors, window sills, and other surfaces.

                             • Take precautions to avoid exposure to lead dust when

                             • When renovating, repairing, or painting, hire only EPA- or state-
                              approved Lead-Safe certified renovation firms.

                             • Before buying, renting, or renovating your home,  have it
                              checked for lead-based paint.

                             • Consult your health care provider about testing your children
                              for lead. Your pediatrician can check for lead with  a simple
                              blood test.

                             • Wash children's hands, bottles, pacifiers, and toys  often.

                             • Make sure children eat healthy, low-fat foods high in iron,
                              calcium, and vitamin C.

                             • Remove shoes or wipe soil off shoes before entering your

Lead Gets into the Body in Many Ways
Adults and children can get lead into their bodies if they:

• Breathe in lead dust (especially during activities such as renovations,
  repairs, or painting that disturb painted surfaces).

• Swallow lead dust that has settled on food, food preparation surfaces,
  and other places.

• Eat paint chips or soil that contains lead.
Lead is especially dangerous to children under the age of 6.

•  At this age, children's brains
  and nervous systems are
  more sensitive to the
  damaging effects of lead.

•  Children's growing bodies
  absorb more lead.

•  Babies and young children
  often put their hands
  and other objects in their
  mouths. These objects can
  have lead dust on them.
Women of childbearing age should know that lead is dangerous to
a developing fetus.

• Women with a high lead  level in their system before or during
  pregnancy risk exposing the fetus to lead through the placenta
  during fetal development.
 U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
 Regional Offices

The mission of EPA is to protect human health and the environment.
Your Regional  EPA Office can provide further information regarding
regulations and lead protection programs.
Region 1 (Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine,
New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont)
Regional Lead Contact
U.S. EPA Region 1
5 Post Office Square, Suite 100, OES 05-4
(888) 372-7341
Region 6 (Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico,
Oklahoma, Texas, and 66 Tribes)
Regional Lead Contact
U.S. EPA Region 6
1445 Ross Avenue, 12th Floor
Dallas,TX 75202-2733
Region 2 (New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico,
Virgin Islands)
Regional Lead Contact
U.S. EPA Region 2
2890 Woodbridge Avenue
Building 205, Mail Stop 225
Edison, NJ 08837-3679

Region 3 (Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania,
Virginia, DC, West Virginia)
Regional Lead Contact
U.S. EPA Region 3
1650 Arch Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103

Region 4 (Alabama, Florida, Georgia,
Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South
Carolina, Tennessee)
Regional Lead Contact
U.S. EPA Region 4
AFC Tower, 12th Floor, Air, Pesticides & Toxics
61 Forsyth Street, SW
Atlanta, GA 30303
(404) 562-8998

Region 5 (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan,
Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin)
Regional Lead Contact
U.S. EPA Region 5 (DT-8J)
77 West Jackson Boulevard
Chicago, IL 60604-3666
Region 7 (Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska)
Regional Lead Contact
U.S. EPA Region 7
11201 RennerBlvd.
(800) 223-0425

Region 8 (Colorado, Montana, North
Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, Wyoming)
Regional Lead Contact
U.S. EPA Region 8
1595 Wynkoop St.
Denver, CO 80202

Region 9 (Arizona, California, Hawaii,
Regional Lead Contact
U.S. EPA Region 9 (CMD-4-2)
75 Hawthorne Street
San Francisco, CA 94105

Region 10 (Alaska, Idaho, Oregon,
Regional Lead Contact
U.S. EPA Region 10
Solid Waste &Toxics Unit (WCM-128)
1200 Sixth Avenue, Suite 900
Seattle, WA 98101

   The National     Information Center
   Learn how to protect children from lead poisoning and get other
   information about lead hazards on the Web at and, or call 1-800-424-LEAD

   EPA's     Drinking       Hotline
   For information about lead in drinking water, call 1-800-426-4791, or
   visit for information about lead in drinking water.

   Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) Hotline
   For information on lead in toys and other consumer products, or to
   report an unsafe consumer product or a product-related injury, call
   1-800-638-2772, or visit CPSC's website at or

             Local            Environmental
   Some states, tribes, and cities have their own rules related to lead-
   based paint. Check with your local agency to see which laws apply
   to you. Most 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. Receive up-to-date address and phone
   information for your state or  local contacts on the Web at,
   or contact the National Lead  Information Center at 1-800-424-LEAD.
      Hearing- or speech-challenged individuals may access any of the
      phone numbers in this brochure through TTY by calling the toll-
      free Federal Relay Service at 1-800-877-8339.
Lead affects the body in many ways. It is important to know that
even exposure to low levels of lead can severely harm children.
                                            Brain Nerve Damage
In children,          to     can

•  Nervous system and kidney damage

•  Learning disabilities, attention deficit
  disorder, and decreased intelligence

«  Speech, language, and behavior

«  Poor muscle coordination

•  Decreased muscle and bone growth

•  Hearing damage

While low-lead exposure is most common,
exposure to high amounts of lead can have
devastating effects on children, including
seizures, unconsciousness, and, in some cases, death.

Although children are especially susceptible to lead exposure, lead can
be dangerous for adults, too.

In                to     can

«  Harm to a developing fetus

•  Increased chance of high blood pressure during pregnancy

•  Fertility problems (in men and women)

«  High blood pressure

«  Digestive problems

•  Nerve disorders

•  Memory and concentration problems

«  Muscle and joint pain

Check Your Family for Lead
Get your children and home tested if you think your home has

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 lead. Blood lead tests are usually recommended for:

•  Children at ages 1 and 2

•  Children or other family members who have been exposed to high
  levels of lead

•  Children who should be tested under your state or local health
  screening plan

Your doctor can explain what the test results mean and if more
testing will be needed.
 Other Sources of Lead
While paint, dust, and soil are the most common sources of lead,
other lead sources also exist:

•  Drinking water. Your home might have plumbing with lead or lead
  solder. You cannot see, smell, or taste lead, and boiling your water will
  not get rid of lead. If you thinkyour plumbing might contain lead:

   • 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.

   Call your local health department or water supplier to find out
   about testing your water, or visit for EPA's lead in
   drinking water information.

•  Lead smelters or other industries that release lead into the air.

•  Your job. If you work with lead, you could bring it home on your body
  or clothes. Shower and change clothes before coming home. Launder
  your work clothes separately from the rest of your family's clothes.

•  Hobbies that use lead, such as making pottery or stained glass,
  or refinishing furniture. Call your local health department for
  information about hobbies that may use lead.

•  Old toys and furniture may have been painted with lead-containing
  paint. Older toys and other children's products may have parts that
  contain lead.4

•  Food and liquids cooked or stored in lead crystal or lead-glazed
  pottery or porcelain may contain lead.

•  Folk remedies, such as "greta" and "azarcon," used to treat an upset
                                                                            4 In 1978, the federal government banned toys, other children's products, and furniture
                                                                              with lead-containing paint(16CFR 1303). In 2008, the federal government banned
                                                                              lead in most children's products. The federal government currently bans lead in
                                                                              excess of 100 ppm by weight in most children's products (76 FR 44463).

    Renovating, Remodeling, or Repairing (RRP) a Home
    with Lead-Based Paint
   If you hire a contractor to conduct renovation, repair, or painting
   (RRP) projects in your pre-1978 home or childcare facility (such as
   pre-school and kindergarten), your contractor must:

   • Be a Lead-Safe Certified firm approved by EPA or an
     EPA-authorized state program

   • Use qualified trained individuals (Lead-Safe
     Certified renovators) who follow specific lead-safe
     work practices to prevent lead contamination

   • Provide a copy of EPA's lead hazard information
     document, The Lead-Safe Certified Guide to
     Renovate Right

   RRP contractors working in pre-1978 homes and childcare facilities
   must follow lead-safe work practices that:

   • Contain the work area. The area must be contained so that dust and
     debris do not escape from the work area. Warning signs must be put
     up, and plastic or other impermeable material and tape must be used.

   • Avoid renovation methods that generate large amounts of
     lead-contaminated dust. Some  methods generate so much lead-
     contaminated dust that their use is  prohibited. They are:

      • Open-flame burning or torching

      • Sanding, grinding, planing, needle gunning, or blasting with
       power tools and equipment not equipped with a shroud and
       HEPA vacuum attachment and

      • Using a heat gun at temperatures greater than 1100°F

   • Clean up thoroughly. The work area should be cleaned up daily.
     When all the work is done, the area  must  be cleaned up using special
     cleaning methods.

   • Dispose of waste properly. Collect and seal waste in a heavy duty
     bag or sheeting. When transported, ensure that waste is contained to
     prevent release of dust and debris.

   To learn more about EPA's requirements for RRP projects visit, or read The Lead-Safe Certified Guide to
   Renovate Right.
Where Lead-Based Paint Is Found
In general, the older your home or childcare facility, the more likely it
has lead-based paint.1

Many homes, including private, federally-assisted, federally-
owned housing, and childcare facilities built before 1978 have
lead-based paint. In 1978, the federal government banned consumer
uses of lead-containing paint.2

Learn  how to determine if paint is lead-based paint on page 7.

Lead can be found:

•  In homes and childcare facilities in the city, country, or suburbs,

•  In private and public single-family homes and apartments,

•  On surfaces inside and outside of the house, and

•  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.)

Learn  more about where lead is found at
1 "Lead-based paint" is currently defined by the federal government as paint with
  lead levels greater than or equal to 1.0 milligram per square centimeter (mg/cm), or
  more than 0.5% by weight.

2 "Lead-containing paint" is currently defined by the federal government as lead in new
  dried paint in excess of 90 parts per million (ppm) by weight.

Identifying Lead-Based Paint and Lead-Based Paint
Deteriorating lead-based paint (peeling, chipping, chalking,
cracking, or damaged 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, such

•  On windows and window sills

•  Doors and doorframes

•  Stairs, railings, banisters, and  porches

Lead-based paint is usually not a hazard if it is in good condition
and if it is not on an impact or friction surface like a window.

Lead dust can form when lead-based paint is scraped, sanded, or
heated. Lead dust also forms when painted surfaces containing
lead bump or rub together. Lead paint chips and dust can get on
surfaces and objects that people touch. Settled lead dust can reenter
the air when the home is vacuumed or swept, or when people walk
through it. EPA currently defines the following levels of lead in dust as

•  40 micrograms per square foot (ug/ft2) and higher for floors,
  including carpeted floors

•  250 ug/ft2 and higher for interior window sills

Lead in soil can be a hazard  when children play in bare soil or when
people bring soil into the house on their shoes. EPA currently defines
the following levels of lead in soil as hazardous:

•  400 parts per million (ppm) and higher in play areas of bare soil

•  1,200 ppm (average) and higher in bare soil in the remainder of the

Remember, lead from paint chips—which you can see—and lead
dust—which you may not be able to see—both can be hazards.

The only way to find out if paint, dust, or soil lead hazards exist is to
test for them. The next page  describes how to do this.
Reducing Lead Hazards, continued
If your home has had lead abatement work done or if the housing is
receiving federal assistance, once the work is completed, dust cleanup
activities must be conducted until clearance testing indicates that lead
dust levels are below the following levels:
                                   for floors, including carpeted
40 micrograms per square foot (ug/ft2)

250 ug/ft2 for interior windows sills

400 ug/ft2 for window troughs
For help in locating certified lead abatement professionals in your area,
call your state or local agency (see pages 14 and 15), or visit, or call 1-800-424-LEAD.

   Reducing Lead Hazards
   Disturbing lead-based paint or
   removing lead improperly can
   increase the hazard to your family by
   spreading even more lead dust around
   the house.

   • In addition today-to-day cleaning
     and good nutrition, you can
     temporarily reduce lead-based paint
     hazards by taking actions, such as
     repairing damaged painted surfaces
     and planting grass to cover lead-
     contaminated soil. These actions are
     not permanent solutions and will need
     ongoing attention.

   • You can minimize exposure to lead
     when renovating, repairing, or painting by hiring an EPA- or state-
     certified renovator who is trained in the use of lead-safe work
     practices. If you are a do-it-yourselfer, learn how to use lead-safe
     work practices in your home.

   • To remove lead hazards permanently, you should hire a certified 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 permanent control.

   Always use a certified contractor who is trained to address lead
   hazards safely.

   • Hire a Lead-Safe Certified firm (see page 12) to perform renovation,
     repair, or painting (RRP) projects that disturb painted surfaces.

   • To correct lead hazards permanently, hire a certified lead abatement
     professional. This will ensure your contractor knows how to work
     safely and has the proper equipment to clean up thoroughly.

   Certified contractors will employ qualified workers and follow strict
   safety rules as set by their state or by the federal government.
Checking Your Home for Lead
You can get your home tested for lead in several different ways:

•  A lead-based paint inspection tells you if your home has lead-
  based paint and where it is located. It won't tell you whether your
  home currently has lead hazards. A trained and certified testing
  professional, called a lead-based paint
  inspector, will conduct a paint inspection
  using methods, such as:

   • Portable x-ray fluorescence (XRF) machine

   • Lab tests of paint samples

•  A risk assessment tells you if your home
  currently has any lead hazards from lead
  in paint, dust, or soil. It also tells you what
  actions to take to address any hazards. A
  trained and certified testing professional,
  called a risk assessor, will:

   • Sample paint that is deteriorated on doors, windows, floors, stairs,
    and walls

   • Sample dust near painted surfaces and sample bare soil in the

   • Get lab tests of paint, dust, and soil samples

•  A combination inspection and risk assessment tells you if your home
  has any lead-based paint and if your home has any lead hazards, and
  where both are located.
Be sure to read the report provided to you after your inspection or risk
assessment is completed, and ask questions about anything you do not

Checking Your Home for Lead, continued
In preparing for renovation, repair, or painting work in a pre-1978
home, Lead-Safe Certified renovators (see page 12) may:

•  Take paint chip samples to determine if lead-based paint is
  present in the area planned for renovation and send them to an
  EPA-recognized lead lab for analysis. In housing receiving federal
  assistance, the person collecting these samples must be a certified
  lead-based paint inspector or risk assessor

•  Use EPA-recognized tests kits to determine if lead-based paint is
  absent (but not in housing receiving federal  assistance)

•  Presume that lead-based paint is present and use lead-safe work

There are state and federal programs in place to ensure that testing is
done safely, reliably, and effectively. Contact your state or local agency
for more information, visit, or call 1-800-424-LEAD
(5323) for a list of contacts in your area.3
3 Hearing- or speech-challenged individuals may access this number through TTY by
 calling the Federal Relay Service at 1-800-877-8399.
What You Can Do Now to Protect Your Family
If you suspect that your house has lead-based paint hazards, you
can take some immediate steps to reduce your family's risk:

•  If you rent, notify your landlord of peeling or chipping paint.

•  Keep painted surfaces clean and free of dust. Clean floors, window
  frames, window sills, and other surfaces weekly. Use a mop or sponge
  with warm water and a general all-purpose cleaner. (Remember:
  never mix ammonia and bleach products together because they can
  form a dangerous gas.)

•  Carefully clean up paint chips immediately without creating dust.

• Thoroughly rinse sponges and mop heads often during cleaning of
  dirty or dusty areas, and again afterward.

• Wash your hands and your 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, or
  eating soil.

• When renovating, repairing, or painting, hire only EPA- or state-
  approved Lead-Safe Certified renovation firms (see page 12).

•  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 dairy products. Children with good diets
  absorb less lead.