Lead Information

Protect Your Family From Lead in Your Home

Many houses and apartments built before 1978 have paint that contains lead (called lead-base 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 pre-1978 housing:

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.

Lead from paint, dust, and soil can be dangerous if not managed properly.

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 in them.

Fact: People have many options for reducing lead hazards. In most cases, lead-based paint that is in good condition is not a hazard.

Fact: Removing lead-based paint improperly can increase the danger to your family.

If you think your home might have lead hazards, read this to learn some simple steps to protect your family.


People can get lead in their body if they:

  • Put their hands or other objects covered with lead dust in their mouths.
  • Eat paint chips or soil that contains 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 them.
  • Children's growing bodies absorb more lead.
  • Children's brains and nervous systems are more sensitive to the damaging effects of lead.

    In addition to day-to-day cleaning and good nutrition:
    You can temporarily reduce lead hazards by taking actions such as 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 need ongoing attention.

    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.


    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 (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:infor@cpsc.gov). For hearing impaired, call TDD 1-800-638-8270