What You Should Know About
Most houses, apartments and commercial buildings built before
1978 contain lead-based paint. Lead-based paint
produced before 1960 contains higher concentrations of lead than paint
manufactured in later years. In fact, the older the home, the more likely it
is to have lead-based paint hazards.
HUD and EPA estimate that at least 19
million homes in the U.S. have lead-based paint hazards, of which at least 4
million were occupied by families with young children under age 6 (HUD 1990;
EPA 1995). Over time, homes with these specific conditions change, as
families age or move, and as buildings deteriorate
Lead-based paint can be on walls,
ceilings, woodwork, windows, and sometimes floors. When lead-based paint on
these surfaces is broken, sanded, or scraped, it breaks into tiny, usually
invisible, pieces that you or your child may swallow or inhale. Even small
repair and renovation jobs, including repainting projects, can create enough
lead dust and chips to harm you. If proper precautions are not taken,
renovation, remodeling and maintenance, including repainting, can generate
large amounts of lead-contaminated dust and soil.
Before You Repair or Renovate
BEFORE you disturb a surface with old paint on it, you should ...
a certified lead inspector or call your county health department or
check your yellow pages under lead-paint detection services.
lead-based paint is found in your home, have the repair or renovation
done by a contractor who has been trained in "lead-safe work practices."
If You Suspect That You Have
Lead Paint . . .
AVOID the following activities, which can produce dust and chips:
scraping, sanding, or using a heat gun on painted surfaces before
holes in walls to get at pipes, or tearing out walls;
furniture or other objects to bump against painted surfaces, or
unnecessarily opening and closing windows and doors with painted frames
If You are Doing the Repair or
If you will do repairs or renovations yourself in areas where you know or
suspect lead-based paint is present, you SHOULD:
Move children and pregnant women to
another apartment or house until work is completed and the area is properly
Seal off the work area with 6 mil
plastic and duct tape. Also, cover AC/heating ducts, furniture, carpets,
rugs, and floors. Dispose of the plastic carefully.
To keep dust down, lightly mist
painted surfaces with water before you work on them.
Clean up thoroughly.
clean up dust and chips with wet mops or rags soaked in a solution of
trisodium phosphate (TSP) or phosphate-containing powdered dishwasher
detergent and warm water. (Powdered dishwasher detergents are
recommended because most have high phosphate contents. Most multipurpose
household cleaners are not effective in cleaning up lead dust.)
skin irritation when cleaning with TSP or high-phosphate dishwasher
detergent, wear rubber gloves.
buckets-one for wash water and one for rinse water.
To prevent recontamination of cleaned
surfaces, wash mops and rags thoroughly after each use. If this is not
possible, or if you have already used the mops and rags several times, place
them in plastic bags and dispose of them carefully.
Avoid dry sweeping or vacuuming the
work area with an ordinary vacuum. Sweeping spreads lead dust around.
Vacuuming also spreads lead dust around, since tiny lead particles can pass
through and out of ordinary vacuum cleaners.
If Repairs or Renovations have
If renovations have already occurred or are occurring, you should do the
children away from paint dust and chips.
all dust and chips with wet mops and rags, as described above. Pay
special attention to floors and to window sills and wells.
your windows if work is going on outside your home that may be
scattering lead dust (for example, a neighbor scraping exterior paint).
Using wet mops and rags, clean up any dust that has gotten into your
children under six years old tested for lead. To arrange for testing,
call your doctor or your local health department.