HUD/EPA Lead Paint Pamphlet

Protect your Family from Lead in Your Home
distributed by EPA, CPSC and HUD

Beginning in 1996, Real Estate professionals are required to provide a copy of the EPA's Lead Based Paint pamphlet (or an approved state version) to buyers and lessees in connection with the sale or rental of pre-1978 dwelling units. For transactions involving owners of more than four residential dwellings, the distribution date begins September 6, 1996. For transactions involving four or fewer residential dwellings, this date is December 6, 1996.

This Site includes the entire text of the EPA's pamphlet. Although the pamphlet itself is not copyrighted, this Web site is. We make no representation that supplying the contents of this site to buyers or lesees will satisfy the requirements of the law. We supply this information for its informational value only.

For more information, contact any of the licensed Real Estate Professionals including those in our professional directories.

Information contained in this booklet is based upon current scientific and technical understanding of the issues presented and is reflective of the jurisdictional boundaries established by the statutes governing the co-authoring agencies. Following the advice given will not necessarily provide complete protection in all situations or against all health hazards that can be caused by lead exposure.


Are you Planning to Buy, Rent or Renovate a Home built before 1978?
Lead from Paint, Dust, and Soil can be Dangerous is Not Managed Properly
Lead Gets in the Body in Many Ways
Check your Family for Lead
Where Lead Based Paint is Found
Where Lead is Likely to be a Hazard
Checking your Home for Lead Hazards
What YOU can do NOW to Protect your Family
How to Significantly Reduce Lead Hazards
Remodeling or Renovating a Home with Lead-Based Paint
Other Sources of Lead
For More Information...
State Health and Environmental Agencies
Simple Steps to Protect your Family from Lead Hazards

Are you Planning to Buy, Rent or Renovate a Home built before 1978?

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.
  • 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.

Lead from Paint, Dust, and Soil can be Dangerous is Not Managed Properly

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 who 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.

If you think your home might have lead hazards, read this pamphlet to learn some simple steps to protect your family.

Lead Gets in the Body in Many Ways

1 out of every 11 children in the United States has dangerous levels of lead in the bloodstream. Even children who appear healthy can have dangerous levels of lead

People can get lead in their body if they:

  • Put their hands or other objects covererd with lead dust in their mouths
  • Eat paint chips or soil that contains lead
  • Breathe in lead dust (especially during renovations that disturb painted surfaces).

Lead is even more dangerous to children than adults because:

  • Babies and young children often put their hands and other objects in their mouths. These objects can have lead dust on them.
  • Children's growing bodies absorb more lead
  • Children's brains and nervous systems are more sensitive to the damaging effects of lead

Lead's Effects: if not detected eaerly, children with high levels of lead in their bodies can suffer from:

  • Damage to the brain and nervous system
  • Behavior and learning problems (such as hyperactivity)
  • Slowed growth
  • Hearing problems
  • Headaches

Lead is also harmful to adults. Adults can suffer from:

  • Difficulties during pregnancy
  • Other reproductive problems (in both men and women)
  • High blood pressure
  • Digestive problems
  • Nerve disorders
  • Memory and concentration problems
  • Muscle and joint paint

Check your Family for Lead

Get your children tested if you think your home has high levels of lead.

A simple blood test can detect high levels of lead. Blood tests are important for:

  • Children who are 6 months to 1 year old (6 months if you live in an older home with cracking or peeling paint)
  • Family members that you think might have high levels of lead

If you child is older than 1 year, talk to your doctor about whether your child needs testing. Your doctor or health center can do blood tests. They are inexpensive and sometimes free. Your doctor will explain what the test results mean. Treatment can range from changes in your diet to medication or a hospital stay.

Where Lead Based Paint is Found

In general, the older your home, the more likely it has lead-based paint.

Many homes build before 1978 have lead-based paint. The federal government banned lead-based paint from housing in 1978. Some states stopped its use even earlier. Lead can be found:

  • In homes in the city, country, or suburbs.
  • In apartments, single-family homes, and both private and public housing.
  • Inside and outside of the house.
  • In soil around a home. (Soil can pick up lead from exterior paint, or other sources such as past use of leaded gas in cars.)

Where Lead is Likely to be a Hazard

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. Peeling, chipping, chalking, or cracking lead-based paint is a hazard that 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:

  • Windows and window sills
  • Doors and door frames
  • Stairs, railings, and banisters
  • Porches and fences

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 to find out about soil testing for lead.

Checking your Home for Lead Hazards

Just knowing that a home has lead-based paint may not tell you if there is a hazard.

You can get your home checked for lead hazards in one of two ways, or both:

  • A paint inspection tells you the lead content of every painted surface in your home. It won't tell you whether the paint is a hazard or how you should deal with it.
  • A risk assessment tells you if there are any sources of serious lead exposure (such as peeling paint and lead dust). It also tells you what actions to take to address these hazards.

Have qualified professionals do the work. The federal government is writing standards for inspectors and risk assessors. Some states might already have standards in place. Call your state agency for help with locating qualified professionals in your area.

Trained professionals use a range of methods when checking your home, including:

  • Visual inspection of paint condition and location
  • Lab tests of paint samples
  • Surface dust tests
  • A portable x-ray fluorescence machine

Home test kits for lead are available, but recent studies suggest they are not always accurate. Consumers should not rely on these tests before doing renovations or to assure safety.

What YOU can do NOW to Protect your Family

If you suspect that your house has lead hazards, you can take some immediate steps to reduce your family's risk:

  • If you rent, notify your landlord of peeling or chipping paint
  • Clean up paint chips immediately
  • Clean floors, window frames, window sills, and other surfaces weekly. Use a mop or sponge with warm water and a general all-purpose cleaner or a cleaner made specifically for lead. Remember: never mix ammonia and bleach products together since they can form a dangerous gas.
  • Thoroughly rinse sponges and mop heads after cleaning dirty or dusty areas
  • Wash children's hands often, especially before they eat and before nap time and bed time
  • Keep play areas clean. Wash bottles, pacifiers, toys, and stuffed animals regularly
  • Keep children from chewing window sills or other painted surfaces
  • Clean or remove shoes before entereing your home to avoid tracking in lead from soil
  • Make sure children eat nutritious, low-fat meals high in iron and calcium, such as spinach and low-fat dairy products. Children with good diets absorb less lead.

How to Significantly Reduce Lead Hazards

Removing lead improperty can increase the hazard to your family by spreading even more lead dust around the house. Always use a professional who is trained to remove lead hazards.

In addition to day-to-day cleaning and good nutrition:

  • You can temporarily reduce lead hazards by taking actions such as repairing damaged painted surfaces and planting grass to cover soil with high lead levels. These actions (called "interim controls") are not permanent solutions and will need ongoing attention.
  • To permanently remove lead hazards, you must hire a lead "abatement" contractor. Abatement (or permanent hazard elimination) methods include removing, sealing, or enclosing lead-based paint with special materials. Just painting over the hazard with regular paint is not enough.

Always hire a person with special training for correcting lead problems - someone who knows how to do this work safely and has the proper equipment to clean up thoroughly. If possible, hire a certified lead abatement contractor. Certified contractors will employ qualified workers and follow strict safety rules as set by their state or by the federal government.

Call your state agency for help with locating qualified contractors in your area and to see if financial assistance is available.

Remodeling or Renovating a Home with 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 the 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 in the section "What You Can Do Now To Protect Your Family" in this brochure.

Other Sources of Lead

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.

For More Information...

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: For the hearing impaired, call TDD 1-800-638-8270.

State Health and Environmental Agencies

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 (205) 242-5661
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 (402) 471-2451 Nevada (702) 687-6615 New Hampshire (603) 271-4507 New Jersey (609) 633-2043 New Mexico (505) 841-8024 New York (800) 458-1158 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 (800) 523-4019 Washington (206) 753-2556 West Virginia (304) 558-2981 Wisconsin (608) 266-5885 Wyoming (307) 777-7391

EPA Regional Offices

Your Regional EPA Office can provide further information regarding regulations and lead protection programs.

  • Region 1 (Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont)
    Regional Lead Contact
    U.S.EPA Region 1
    Suite 1100 (CPT)
    One Congress Street
    Boston,MA 02114-2023
    1 (888)372-7341
  • Region 2 (New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands)
    Regional Lead Contact
    U.S.EPA Region 2
    2890 Woodbridge Avenue
    Building 209,Mail Stop 225
    Edison,NJ 08837-3679
  • Region 3 (Delaware, Washington DC, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia)
    Regional Lead Contact
    U.S.EPA Region 3 (3WC33)
    1650 Arch Street
    Philadelphia,PA 19103
  • Region 4 (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee)
    Regional Lead Contact
    U.S.EPA Region 4
    61 Forsyth Street,SW
    Atlanta,GA 30303
  • Region 5 (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin)
    Regional Lead Contact
    U.S.EPA Region 5 (DT-8J)
    77 West Jackson Boulevard
    Chicago,IL 60604-3666
  • Region 6 (Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas)
    Regional Lead Contact
    U.S.EPA Region 6
    1445 Ross Avenue,12th Floor
    Dallas,TX 75202-2733
  • Region 7 (Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska)
    Regional Lead Contact
    U.S.EPA Region 7
    901 N.5th Street
    Kansas City,KS 66101
  • Region 8 (Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, Wyoming)
    Regional Lead Contact
    U.S.EPA Region 8
    999 18th Street,Suite 500
    Denver,CO 80202-2466
  • Region 9 (Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada)
    Regional Lead Contact
    U.S.Region 9
    75 Hawthorne Street
    San Francisco,CA 94105
  • Region 10 (Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Alaska)
    Regional Lead Contact
    U.S.EPA Region 10
    Toxics Section WCM-128
    1200 Sixth Avenue
    Seattle,WA 98101-1128

CPSC Regional Offices

  • Eastern Regional Center
    Consumer Product Safety Commission
    201 Varick Street,Room 903
    New York,NY 10014
  • Central Regional Center
    Consumer Product Safety Commission
    230 South Dearborn Street,Room 2944
    Chicago,IL 60604
  • Western Regional Center
    Consumer Product Safety Commission
    1301 Clay Street,Suite 610-N
    Oakland,CA 94612

Simple Steps to Protect your Family from Lead Hazards

If you think your home has high levels of lead:

  • Get your young children tested for lead, even if they seem healthy.
  • Wash children's hands, bottles, pacifiers, and toys often.
  • Make sure children eat healthy, low-fat foods.
  • Get your home checked for lead hazards.
  • Regularly clean floors, window sills, and other surfaces.
  • Wife soil off shoes before entering house.
  • Talk to your landlord about fixing surfaces with peeling or chipping paint.
  • Take precautions to avoid exposure to lead dust when remodeling or renovating (call 1-800-424-LEAD for guidelines).
  • Don't use a belt-sander, propane torch, dry scraper, or dry sandpaper on painted surfaces that may contain lead.
  • Don't try to remove lead-based paint yourself.

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