Lead Based Paint Facts
Lead paint is a potential health risk. Depending on the level of
exposure, lead can cause damage to the brain and nervous system,
behavior problems, slowed growth, headaches, difficulties during
pregnancy, high blood pressure, digestive problems and muscle and
Lead can affect everyone in the family, but children are often at
highest risk, especially small children who don't hesitate to put
things in their mouths.
One of the primary sources of exposure is the lead-based paint that
often exists in homes that were built prior to 1978, when the
Federal Government banned its use in residential structures.
Federal regulations require that sellers provide lead-based paint
disclosures to home buyers who are purchasing a home built before
Likely Sources of Lead
- Sellers must disclose in writing any information about known
lead-based paint in the home. If sellers have performed lead
tests, they must share the test results.
- Sales contracts must give buyers up to 10 days to check for lead
hazards. Home buyers aren't required to do the check--but they must
be given the opportunity. Watch for this information on a special
form attached to the contract.
- Home sellers must give home buyers a copy of the EPA publication
"Protect Your Family From Lead in Your Home." If you're dealing with
a real estate agency, your agent should provide the pamphlet.
- Similar lead disclosure regulations apply to landlords and tenants.
Lead paint that is intact--with no cracking, chipping or wear--is
less likely to pose health risks. If your home could contain
lead-based paints, correct or stay aware of the following
situations: Peeling, chipping, or cracking paints. Lead paint on
areas that small children might chew on, or areas susceptible to
wear and tear that causes cracking or exposure to underlying layers
of paints: stair railings, banisters, window sills, door frames,
porches, fences. Lead dust that results when paint is sanded or dry
scraped. Lead in the soil surrounding your home, caused by flaking
lead paints on its exterior. Lead can be tracked inside on shoes or
can be a risk to children playing outside.
Other Sources of Lead
Lead-based paint isn't the only potential source of lead in your
So What Can You Do About Lead?
- Lead in drinking water when plumbing contains lead or lead
solder. Have your water tested for lead, since it cannot be detected
by taste or smell.
- Old painted toys or furniture.
- Industries that release lead into the air.
- Hobbies that use items containing lead: stained glass, pottery,
Ongoing, Temporary "Fixes"
- Temporarily reduce lead hazards by repairing damaged painted
surfaces and planting grass to cover soil with high lead levels.
- Clean up paint chips right away.
- Clean painted surfaces weekly, then
thoroughly rinse your cleaning tools.
- Wash children's hands
frequently; wash toys and other items they play with regularly.
children from chewing on painted surfaces.
- Eat nutritious meals that
are high in iron and calcium. Children and adults with good diets
absorb less lead.
Permanent Lead Removal
Permanent removal requires work by a certified lead abatement
contractor who will remove lead paint or seal and enclose it with
Lead testing may be common in some areas, but I have never met a
home seller who has tested for the presence of lead-based paints. So
don't be alarmed or suspicious if your seller has no lead paint
information to share. Although lead paint can be dangerous, its
presence shouldn't be enough to keep you from buying a home you love
unless you feel the paint is in such terrible condition that it
poses a true health threat.
site for in-depth information about
identifying and dealing with lead hazards in the environment and in
Tips for First Time Buyers
Buyer Frequently Asked Questions
10 Things Buyers Should Avoid
What To Do First: Buy or Sell?
Making an Offer
Simplify the Home Buying Process
Relieving the Stress of Packing
Land Buying Advice
Real Estate Glossary
Facts About Easements
Facts about Radon & Radon Testing
Lead Based Paint Facts & Disclosures
Mold in the Home
Saying "I Do" to First Homes
a CMA and Why Do You Need One?
How to Negotiate with Sellers