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lead paint


Health Risks of Lead Exposure

Even tiny amounts of lead can be hazardous to young children (up to about 6 years old). Lead is commonly found in paint or soil. It can get into a child’s system when particles are inhaled or eaten regularly.

What Are Routes of Exposure to Lead?

Potential Effects

  • Delayed development
  • Reading and learning difficulties
  • Lowered IQ
  • Hyperactivity
  • Discipline problems

Children are at risk for lead poisoning because they touch their hands to their mouths often, their digestive tracts absorb more lead than those of adults, and their brains are still developing.

Risk Reduction

  • Provide good nutrition to reduce lead absorption
  • Wash children’s hands and toys often
  • Do not sand, scrape, burn, or create dust from materials that may contain lead
  • Leave the removal of lead-contaminated materials to professionals
  • Damp dusting and mopping can reduce dust
  • Use a vacuum with a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter
  • Pick up loose paint chips with duct tape
  • Hire contractors for renovations, painting, and repair who are certified as trained in and use safe lead practices

Lead in Toys

The US Consumer Products Safety Division is responsible for keeping toys containing lead off the market. If you have reason to suspect that a toy contains lead, remove it immediately. If you think your child has been exposed to a toy containing lead, contact your pediatrician.

Learn About Product Recalls for Lead

Testing Children for Lead

All children under six should have a blood test for lead – especially those who live in older homes and high-traffic areas.

Home Testing

Renovation, Repair & Painting

In 2010, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) passed the Renovation, Repair and Painting rule (RRP). The rule requires anyone who will be paid to do renovations, painting, or repair on a pre-1978 home to be trained in and use lead-safe practices when:

  • Greater than 6 square feet (SF) of lead-based paint is disturbed on interior surfaces
  • Greater than 20 square feet is disturbed on exterior surfaces (including window replacement)

Contractors must also:

  1. Test for lead, or assume paint contains lead (a lead-based paint is one with greater than 0.06% lead by weight)
  2. Keep the work area contained
  3. Minimize dust
  4. Clean up thoroughly

Renovation Resources

Real Estate Disclosure

  • Landlords must disclose known information on lead-based paint and lead-based paint hazards before leases take effect. Leases must include a disclosure form about lead-based paint.
  • Before selling a house, sellers must disclose known information on lead-based paint and lead-based paint hazards. Sales contracts must include a disclosure form about lead-based paint. Buyers have up to ten days to check for lead hazards.

Disclosure Resources

Learn More

Contact Us

Air Quality Program

Main: 303-441-1564
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