Lead Hazards in the Home: how to protect your family from lead poisoning.
By offering simple steps to protect your family from lead poisoning, this document, expanded from original US CPSC information, provides advice for reducing the risk of lead poisoning for families living in homes where lead exposure is suspected, likely, or where lead contamination is actually confirmed by testing.
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The original U.S. CPSC document that supplied data to this expanded version is public domain. We have made additions to the technical depth of this article and we have added additional important detail about lead hazards - these are indicated by a [bracketed note in italics]. The additional text or commentary, website design, links, and references are
Consumer Product Safety Commission,
Protect Your Family from Lead in Your Home
CPSC Document #426
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Washington, DC 20460
U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission Washington, DC 20207
EPA747-K-94-001 -- May 1995
Readers of this article should see our review of a Home Test Kit for Lead in on building surfaces located at LEAD TEST KIT for HOME USE. The same company offers a lead-in-water test, as do local health departments and private water testing labs in most cities. Also see Lead Contamination in Drinking Water: Testing & Correction - Advice.
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:
LANDLORDS will have to disclose known information on lead-based paint hazards before leases take effect. Leases will include a federal form about lead-based paint.
SELLERS will have to disclose known information on lead-based paint hazards before selling a house. Sales contracts will include a federal form about lead-based paint in the building. Buyers will have up to 10 days to check for lead hazards. Also see LEAD ENVIRO-SCARE.
RENOVATORS will have to give you this pamphlet before starting work.
If you want more information on these requirements, call the National Lead Information Clearinghouse at 1-800-424-LEAD.
Watch out for environmental testing and cleanup that are not performed by qualified experts. Details & examples of what can go wrong are
at ASBESTOS REMOVAL, Amateur, Incomplete
at ASBESTOS REMOVAL CERTIFICATIONS.
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.
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If 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.
While paint, dust, and soil are the most common lead hazards, other lead sources also exist.
Use only cold water for drinking and cooking.
Run water for 15 to 30 seconds before drinking it, especially if you have not used your water for a few hours.
The job -- If you work with lead, you could bring it home on your hands or clothes. Shower and change clothes before coming home. Launder your clothes separately from the rest of your family's.
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.
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: email@example.com). For the hearing impaired, call TDD 1-800-638-8270.
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.
Alabama N/A 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 (205) 242-5661 Nevada (702) 687-6615 New Hampshire (603) 271-4507 New Jersey (609) 633-2043 New York (800) 458-1158 New Mexico (505) 841-8024 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 (505) 841-8024 Washington (206) 753-2556 West Virginia (304) 558-2981 Wisconsin (608) 266-5885 Wyoming (307) 777-7391
Your Regional EPA Office can provide further information regarding regulations and lead protection programs.
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) 345 Courtland Street, NE Atlanta, GA 30365 (404) 347-4727 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) 744-1124 Region 10 (Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Alaska) 1200 Sixth Avenue Seattle, WA 98101 (206) 553-1200 CPSC REGIONAL OFFICES U.S. CPSC Eastern Regional Center 201 Varick Street, Room 903 New York, NY 10014-4811 Tele. (212) 620-4120 Fax: (212) 620-5388 U.S. CPSC Central Regional Center 230 South Dearborn Street, Room 2944 Chicago, IL 60604-1601 (312) 353-8260 U.S. CPSC Western Regional Center 1301 Clay Street, Suite 610 N Oakland, CA 94612 Tele. (510) 637-4050 Fax: (510) 637-4060
"The voluntary standard established in the United States under ASTM F-963 and the European standard under EN-71 for soluble lead in toys (lead which may migrate from the toy and be ingested by the child) is 90 parts-per-million. At that level, any intentional use of lead in paints or other surface coatings containing lead would immediately put the toy over the permitted limit."
"Under federal law, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) enforces a standard for total lead of 600 ppm. Recently, the CPSC refused to lower the lead limit in paint and other similar surface coating materials to 100 ppm after finding that most paints sold in the United States were already at or below that level and, therefore, these materials did not present an unreasonable risk of injury warranting further government regulation."