United States Environmental Protection Agency
United States Consumer Product Safety Commission
United States Department of Housing 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 hazards. 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 leadbased 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).
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 deterioration. • Get your home checked for lead hazards. Find a certified inspector or risk assessor at epa.gov/lead. • 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 remodeling. • When renovating, repairing, or painting, hire only EPA- or stateapproved 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 house.
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.
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 problems • 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...