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EPA reminds parents about hazardous lead paint in homes

Release Date: 6/28/2005
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      Denver -- Summer is the time for home remodeling and renovation, and those remodeling projects can stir up lead-contaminated dust from paint removal. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is reminding people that lead paint in homes is hazardous. Parents, in particular, should be aware that lead is a major environmental health hazard for young children, and children across the United States continue to be hospitalized with elevated blood-lead levels.

EPA recommends testing your home for lead-based paint if it was built before 1978 and you have children 6-years-old or younger. More than half the homes built before 1978 contain some lead paint, and research suggests that is the principal source of lead exposure today. Children living in older homes are threatened by chipping or peeling lead paint and the dust stirred up by paint removal projects.

Testing for lead-based paint should be done before you begin home repair or remodeling projects. Lead was used in both paint and varnish, so any painted or varnished surface that will be removed or remodeled should be tested. Disturbing lead-based paint can create a lead-poisoning hazard that did not previously exist.

Lead is a highly toxic metal that was used for many years in products found in and around our homes. Lead exposure can cause a variety of health problems ranging from behavioral problems and learning disabilities, to seizures and death. Children 6-years-old and under are most at risk because their bodies are growing quickly.

“We encourage people to be aware of lead paint hazards in their homes and take proper precautions to protect their families,” said EPA Assistant Regional Administrator Steven Tuber. “If your home was built before 1978, lead paint may be present.”

If your home tests positive for lead-based paint or varnish and you are remodeling, it is best to hire personnel who have the appropriate training and experience in dealing with lead-based paint hazards and hold a current certification issued by the Environmental Protection Agency or state government.

Landlords must disclose known information about lead-based paint and lead-based paint hazards before leases take effect. Sellers must disclose known information on lead-based paint and lead-based paint hazards before selling a house. Sales contracts must include a disclosure form about lead-based paint. Property managers of apartments and residential houses built before 1978 must notify tenants in writing prior to renovation activities. EPA urges people to read carefully the lead-hazard information they receive when renting, buying or renovating a house built before 1978.
For more information on lead-based paint and how to check your home and family for lead, visit
or contact the EPA Region 8 Lead Coordinator Amanda Hasty at 303-312-6966.