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Protect Your Family From Lead In Your Home
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Protect Your Family From Lead In Your Home



United States Consumer Product Safety Commission



Simple Steps To Protect Your Family From Lead Hazards

Are You Planning To Buy, Rent, Or Renovate A Home Built Before 1978?


Lead Gets In The Body In Many Ways

Lead's Effects

Checking Your Family For Lead

Where Lead Is Likely To Be A Hazard

Checking Your Home For Lead Hazards

How To Significantly Reduce Lead Hazards

Remodeling Or Renovating A Home With Lead-Based Paint

Other Sources Of Lead

For More Information

State Offices

EPA Regional Offices

Related Article

Lead Paint

Simple Steps To Protect Your Family From Lead Hazards

If you think your home has high levels of lead:

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Are You Planning To Buy, Rent, Or Renovate A Home Built Before 1978?

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

If you want more information on these requirements, call the National Lead Information Clearinghouse at 1-800-424-LEAD.

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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 pamphlet to learn some simple steps to protect your family.

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Lead Gets In The Body In Many Ways

1 out of every 11 children in the United States has dangerous levels of lead in the bloodstream.

Even children who appear healthy can have dangerous levels of lead.

Lead in ToysPeople can get lead in their body if they:

Lead is even more dangerous to children than adults because:

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Lead's Effects

Lead's effects on the bodyIf not detected early, children with high levels of lead in their bodies can suffer from:

Lead is also harmful to adults. Adults can suffer from:

*Lead affects the body in many ways.*

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Checking Your Family For Lead

Get your children tested if you think your home has high levels of lead.

A 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. They are inexpensive and sometimes free. Your doctor will explain what the test results mean. Treatment can range from changes in your diet to medication or a hospital stay.

Where Lead-Based Paint Is Found

In general, the older your home, the more likely it has lead-based paint.

Many homes built before 1978 have lead-based paint. In 1978, the federal government banned lead-based paint from housing. Lead can be found:

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Where Lead Is Likely To Be A Hazard

Lead from paint chips, which you can see, and lead dust, which you can't always see, can both be serious hazards.

sources off leadLead-based paint that is in good condition is usually not a hazard.

Peeling, chipping, chalking, or cracking lead-based 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. These areas include:

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 through it.

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.

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Checking Your Home For Lead Hazards

Just knowing that a home has lead-based paint may not tell you if there is a hazard.

You can get your home checked for lead hazards in one of two ways, or both:

checklist for lead home inspectionsHave qualified 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 (see below).

Trained professionals use a range of methods when checking your home, including:

Home test kits for lead are available, but the federal government is still testing their reliability. These tests should not be the only method used before doing renovations or to assure safety.
clean home to remove lead

What You Can Do Now To Protect Your Family

If you suspect that your house has lead hazards, you can take some immediate steps to reduce your family's risk:

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How To Significantly Reduce Lead Hazards

Removing lead improperly can increase the hazard to your family by spreading even more lead dust around the house.

Protect Yourself when removing lead and Use a professionalAlways use a professional who is trained to remove lead hazards safely.

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 government.

Call your state agency (see below) for help with locating qualified contractors in your area and to see if financial assistance is available.

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Remodeling Or Renovating A Home With Lead-Based Paint

Lead Scraping - Take Precautions - Avoid Improper ConductIf not conducted properly, certain types of renovations can release lead from paint and dust into the air.

Take precautions 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.

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Other Sources Of Lead

While paint, dust, and soil are the most common lead hazards, other lead sources also exist.Lead in Drinkin Water

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For More Information

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.

Web Sites on Lead Hazards and Protection

HUD Web site on Lead
EPA Web Site for Lead in Paint, Dust and Soil
Article: Lead Paint.

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: For the hearing impaired, call TDD 1-800-638-8270.   (web site:

State Health And Environmental Agencies

Some cities and states have their own rules for lead-based paint activities. Check with your state agency (listed below) to see if state or local laws apply to you. Most state 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.


Phone Number
Alabama (205) 242-5661
Alaska (907) 465-5152
Arkansas (501) 661-2534
Arizona (602) 542-7307
California (510) 450-2424
Colorado (303) 692-3012
Connecticut (203) 566-5808
Washington, DC (202) 727-9850
Delaware (302) 739-4735
Florida (904) 488-3385
Georgia (404) 657-6514
Hawaii (808) 832-5860
Idaho (208) 332-5544
Illinois (800) 545-2200
Indiana (317) 382-6662
Iowa (800) 972-2026
Kansas (913) 296-0189
Kentucky (502) 564-2154
Louisiana (504) 765-0219
Massachusetts (800) 532-9571
Maryland (410) 631-3859
Maine (207) 287-4311
Michigan (517) 335-8885
Minnesota (612) 627-5498
Mississippi (601) 960-7463
Missouri (314) 526-4911
Montana (406) 444-3671
Nebraska (402) 471-2451
Nevada (702) 687-6615
New Hampshire (603) 271-4507
New Jersey (609) 633-2043
New Mexico (505) 841-8024
New York (800) 458-1158
North Carolina (919) 715-3293
North Dakota (701) 328-5188
Ohio (614) 466-1450
Oklahoma (405) 271-5220
Oregon (503) 248-5240
Pennsylvania (717) 782-2884
Rhode Island (401) 277-3424
South Carolina (803) 935-7945
South Dakota (605) 773-3153
Tennessee (615) 741-5683
Texas (512) 834-6600
Utah (801) 536-4000
Vermont (802) 863-7231
Virginia (800) 523-4019
Washington (206) 753-2556
West Virginia (304) 558-2981
Wisconsin (608) 266-5885
Wyoming (307) 777-7391

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Your Regional EPA Office can provide further information regarding regulations and lead protection programs.

EPA Regional Offices

Region 1 (Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont)
John F. Kennedy Federal Building
One Congress Street
Boston, MA 02203
(617) 565-3420

Region 2 (New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands) Building 5
2890 Woodbridge Avenue
Edison, NJ 08837-3679
(908) 321-6671

Region 3 (Delaware, Washington DC, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia)
841 Chestnut Building
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 597-9800

Region 4 (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee)
61 Alabama St., SW
Atlanta, GA 30303-3104
(404) 562-8956

Region 5 (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin)
77 West Jackson Boulevard
Chicago, IL 60604-3590
(312) 886-6003

Region 6 (Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas) First Interstate Bank Tower
1445 Ross Avenue, 12th Floor, Suite 1200 Dallas, TX 75202-2733
(214) 665-7244

Region 7 (Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska) 726 Minnesota Avenue
Kansas City, KS 66101
(913) 551-7020

Region 8 (Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, Wyoming)
999 18th Street, Suite 500
Denver, CO 80202-2405
(303) 293-1603

Region 9 (Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada) 75 Hawthorne Street
San Francisco, CA 94105
(415) 947-8000

Region 10 (Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Alaska) 1200 Sixth Avenue
Seattle, WA 98101
(206) 553-1200


Eastern Regional Center
6 World Trade Center
Vesey Street, Room 350
New York, NY 10048
(212) 466-1612
Central Regional Center
230 South Dearborn Street
Room 2944
Chicago, IL 60604-1601
(312) 353-8260
Western Regional Center
600 Harrison Street, Room 245
San Francisco, CA 94107
(415) 744-2966


Other online sources for the "Protect Your Family From Lead In Your Home" guide:

Protect Your Family From Lead in Your Home [pdf]
HTML Version.
also text only version at:


See also following lead paint article and government resources:

Article: Lead Paint.

HUD Web site on Lead

EPA Web Site for Lead Related Brochures and Posters


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