for Lead in Your Family
simple blood test can detect high levels of lead. Blood
tests are important for:
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.
- 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.
|Where Lead Based Paint
is Often Found
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.
single-family homes, and both private and public housing.
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.)
Lead Paint is a Problem
that is in good condition is usually not a hazard.
chalking, or cracking lead-based paint is a hazard and needs
may also be a hazard when found on surfaces that children can chew
or that get a lot of wear-and-tear. These areas include:
window sills. Doors and door
railings, and banisters. Porches and
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
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.
to Check your Home (Own or Rent)
|You can get your
home checked for lead hazards in one of two ways, or both:
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.
- 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.
professionals use a range of methods when checking your home,
inspection of paint condition and location.
- Lab tests of
- Surface dust
- A portable x-ray
before you begin remodeling or renovations that disturb painted
surfaces (such as scraping off paint or tearing out walls):
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 brochure.
- 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 after renovations.
the Risk - NOW
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
- 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
- Thoroughly rinse
sponges and mop heads after cleaning dirty or dusty areas.
- Wash children's
hands often, especially before they eat and before nap time and
- Keep play areas
clean. Wash bottles, pacifiers, toys, and stuffed animals
- Keep children
from chewing window sills or other painted surfaces.
- Clean or remove
shoes before entering your home to avoid tracking in lead from
- 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.
In addition to
day-to-day cleaning and good nutrition:
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
- 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
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.
Call your state
agency (see page 3)
for help with locating qualified contractors in
your area and to see if financial assistance is available.