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Lead hazards when remodeling buildings:
This document 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. The original U.S. CPSC document 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 independent material.
Suggestions for Remodeling or Renovating a Home that Has Lead Based Paint
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):
Have the area tested for lead-based paint.
Do not use a dry scraper, belt-sander, propane torch, or heat gun to remove lead-based paint. These actions create large amounts of lead dust and fumes. Lead dust can remain in your home long after the work is done.
Temporarily move your family (especially children and pregnant women) out of the apartment or house until the work is done and the area is properly cleaned. If you can't move your family, at least completely seal off the work area.
Follow other safety measures to reduce lead hazards. You can find out about other safety measures by calling 1-800-424-LEAD. Ask for the brochure "Reducing Lead Hazards When Remodeling Your Home." This brochure explains what to do before, during, and after renovations.
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.
What are Other Sources of Lead and Lead Poisoning?
While paint, dust, and soil are the most common lead hazards, other lead sources also exist.
Drinking water -- Your home might have plumbing with lead or lead solder. Call your local health department or water supplier to find out about testing your water. You cannot see, smell, or taste lead, and boiling your water will not get rid of lead. If you think your plumbing might have lead in it:
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.
Old painted toys and furniture.
Food and liquids stored in lead crystal or lead-glazed pottery or porcelain.
Lead smelters or other industries that release lead into the air.
Hobbies that use lead, such as making pottery or stained glass, or refinishing furniture.
Folk remedies that contain lead, such as "greta" and "azarcon" used to treat an upset stomach.
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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: firstname.lastname@example.org). For the hearing impaired, call TDD 1-800-638-8270.
Directory of Contact Telephones for U.S. State Health Departments & State Environmental Departments
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.
State/Region Phone Number for Health Departments & Environmental Agencies
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
Directory of Contact Information for U.S. EPA Regional Offices
Your Regional EPA Office can provide further information regarding regulations and lead protection programs.
EPA Regional Offices useful for Lead Hazard Information or Reporting
Region 1 (Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont)
John F. Kennedy Federal Building
One Congress Street
Boston, MA 02203
Region 2 (New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands)
2890 Woodbridge Avenue
Edison, NJ 08837-3679
Region 3 (Delaware, Washington DC, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia)
841 Chestnut Building
Philadelphia, PA 19107
Region 4 (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee)
345 Courtland Street, NE
Atlanta, GA 30365
Region 5 (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin)
77 West Jackson Boulevard
Chicago, IL 60604-3590
Region 6 (Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas)
First Interstate Bank Tower
1445 Ross Avenue, 12th Floor, Suite 1200
Dallas, TX 75202-2733
Region 7 (Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska)
726 Minnesota Avenue
Kansas City, KS 66101
Region 8 (Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, Wyoming)
999 18th Street, Suite 500
Denver, CO 80202-2405
Region 9 (Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada)
75 Hawthorne Street
San Francisco, CA 94105
Region 10 (Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Alaska)
1200 Sixth Avenue
Seattle, WA 98101
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
U.S. CPSC Western Regional Center
1301 Clay Street, Suite 610 N
Oakland, CA 94612
Tele. (510) 637-4050
Fax: (510) 637-4060
Books & Articles on Building & Environmental Inspection, Testing, Diagnosis, & Repair
"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."
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The Home Reference Book - the Encyclopedia of Homes, Carson Dunlop & Associates, Toronto, Ontario, 25th Ed., 2012, is a bound volume of more than 450 illustrated pages that assist home inspectors and home owners in the inspection and detection of problems on buildings. The text is intended as a reference guide to help building owners operate and maintain their home effectively. Field inspection worksheets are included at the back of the volume.
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