Peeling paint on an old building may contaminate the soils below (C) Daniel FriedmanWhen and Where is Lead Based Paint Found Inside or Outside on buildings?

InspectAPedia tolerates no conflicts of interest. We have no relationship with advertisers, products, or services discussed at this website.

Where mighht lead paint be found in buildings? This article outlines where lead paint was commonly found on building interiors and on building exteriors.

These visual clues help warn off building owners or contractors who are about to renovate an older building, or who want to know which surfaces are most at risk and most need to be examined or tested for lead. Actual testing to confirm the presence or absence of lead paint is recommended for older homes. This website 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.

Green links show where you are. © Copyright 2017, All Rights Reserved.

When and Where is Lead Based Paint Found in buildings?

Photograph of old paint on a historic building, paint is likely to be a source of lead contamination on the soils below.Our page top photo of an older wood-sided building with peeling paint also shows how soil around a building may have been lead-contaminated even if the lead-based paint coated siding has since been replaced, re-painted, or covered with a newer material.

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.

In general, the older your home, the more likely it has lead-based paint. Our photo at left shows a building originally constructed in 1759, and which has undergone generations of paint application, coat on top of paint coat.

Our opinion is that there is no reason to test this building for the presence of lead paint - it's a reasonable assumption that lead based paints are present on most painted surfaces in this case.

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

OPINION-DF: We have a special concern for both the hazards to house painters who often do not take precautions to protect themselves, and for homes that are re-painted without following good housekeeping and lead dust or lead paint chip control.

We recommend insisting that your painter wear appropriate protection while working on your home and that drop cloths be used to collect sanding and paint chips containing lead dust when the home is being prepared for re-painting. If this debris is left on the soil it may form a soil-lead contamination hazard to children later playing in the area close to the building.

Where is Lead Paint Most Likely to be a Hazard in buildings?

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

Lead-based paint that is in good condition is usually not a hazard. [DF-note: see comments at my other lead articles cited below, about lead painted window sash dust and toddler lead ingestion]

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.

Also see LEAD ENVIRO-SCAREwhere we discuss both rational and irrational consumer fears around environmental topics and the impact of environmental contaminants or fears on home resale.


Continue reading at LEAD HAZARDS in REMODELING or select a topic from closely-related articles below, or see our complete INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES below.

Suggested citation for this web page

LEAD PAINT USES in BUILDINGS at - online encyclopedia of building & environmental inspection, testing, diagnosis, repair, & problem prevention advice.


Or use the SEARCH BOX found below to Ask a Question or Search InspectApedia


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Click to Show or Hide FAQs

Ask a Question or Search InspectApedia

Questions & answers or comments about the hazards of lead based paint in buildings

Use the "Click to Show or Hide FAQs" link just above to see recently-posted questions, comments, replies, try the search box just below, or if you prefer, post a question or comment in the Comments box below and we will respond promptly.

Search the InspectApedia website

Comment Box is loading comments...

Technical Reviewers & References

Click to Show or Hide Citations & References

Publisher's Google+ Page by Daniel Friedman