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.
Lead in
United States
Protection Agency
• People have many options for reducing lead hazards.
Generally, lead-based paint that is in good condition is not
a hazard (see page 10).
United States
Consumer Product
Safety Commission
• People can get lead into their bodies by breathing or
swallowing lead dust, or by eating soil or paint chips
containing lead.
June 2017
/ I °% United States
f* II * ? Department of Housing
\ || J and Urban Development

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
•	How lead affects health
•	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)
HUD'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 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
U. S. EPA Washington DC 20460	EPA-747-K-12-001
U.S.CPSC Bethesda MD20814	June2017
U. S. HUD Washington DC 20410

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
Boston, MA 02109-3912
(888) 372-7341
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, Ml 08837-3679
(732) 321-6671
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
(312) 886-7836
Region 6 (Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico,
Oklahoma,Texas, and 66Tribes)
Regional Lead Contact
U.S. EPA Region 6
1445 Ross Avenue, 12th Floor
Dallas,TX 75202-2733
(214) 665-2704
Region 7 (Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska)
Regional Lead Contact
U.S. EPA Region 7
11201 Renner Blvd.
Lenexa, KS 66219
(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
Simple Steps to Protect Your Family
from Lead Hazards
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.
For More Information
The National Lead 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 (5323).
EPA's Safe Drinking Water 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
State and Local Health and Environmental Agencies
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 locai 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.

Other Sources of Lead, continued
•	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. 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.
Health Effects of Lead
Lead affects the body in many ways. It is important to know that
even exposure to low levels of lead can severely harm children.
In children, exposure to lead can cause:
•	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 cast
Although children are especially susceptible to lead exposure, lead can
be dangerous for adults, too.
In adults, exposure to lead can cause:
•	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
Brain Nerve Damage
;, death.

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
Lead in Drinking Water
The most common sources of lead in drinking water are lead pipes,
faucets, and fixtures.
Lead pipes are more likely to be found in older cities and homes built
before 1986.
You can't smell or taste lead in drinking water.
To find out for certain if you have lead in drinking water, have your
water tested.
Remember older homes with a private well can also have plumbing
materials that contain lead.
Important Steps You Can Take to Reduce Lead in Drinking Water
•	Use only cold water for drinking, cooking and making baby formula.
Remember, boiling water does not remove lead from water.
•	Before drinking, flush your home's pipes by running the tap, taking a
shower, doing laundry, or doing a load of dishes.
•	Regularly clean your faucet's screen (also known as an aerator).
•	If you use a filter certified to remove lead, don't forget to read the
directions to learn when to change the cartridge. Using a filter after it
has expired can make it less effective at removing lead.
Contact your water company to determine if the pipe that connects
your home to the water main (called a service line) is made from lead.
Your area's water company can also provide information about the lead
levels in your system's drinking water.
For more information about lead in drinking water, please contact
EPA's Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 1-800-426-4791. If you have other
questions about lead poisoning prevention, call 1-800 424-LEAD*
Call your local health department or water company to find out about
testing your water, or visit for EPA's lead in drinking
water information. Some states or utilities offer programs to pay for
water testing for residents. Contact your state or local water company
to learn more.
* Hearing- or speech-challenged individuals may access this number through TTY
by calling the Federal Relay Service at 1 - 800 877 8339.	13

Renovating, Repairing or Painting 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
•	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 (pg/ft2) and higher for floors,
including carpeted floors
•	250 ng/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:
•	40 micrograms per square foot ((jg/ft2) for floors, including carpeted
•	250 ng/ft2 for interior windows sills
•	400 ng/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 to day-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 numberthrough TTY by
calling the Federal Relay Service at 1 -800-877-8339,
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.