It ’s the Law!
Federal law requires contractors that disturb painted surfaces in homes, child care facilities and schools, built before 1978 to
be certified and follow specific work practices to prevent lead contamination. Always ask to see your contractor’s certification.
Federal law requires that individuals receive certain information before renovating more than six square feet of painted surfaces
in a room for interior projects or more than twenty square feet of painted surfaces for exterior projects or window replacement
or demolition in housing, child care facilities and schools built before 1978.
• Homeowners and tenants: renovators must give you this pamphlet before starting work.
• Child care facilities, including preschools and kindergarten classrooms, and the families of children under six years of age
that attend those facilities: renovators must provide a copy of this pamphlet to child care facilities and general renovation
information to families whose children attend those facilities.
Who Should Read This Pamphlet?
This pamphlet is for you if you:
• Reside in a home built before 1978.
• Own or operate a child care facility, including preschools and kindergarten classrooms, built before 1978, or have a child under six years of age who attends a child care facility built before 1978.
You will learn:
• Basic facts about lead and your health.
• How to choose a contractor, if you are a property owner.
• What tenants, and parents/guardians of a child in a child care facility or school should consider.
• How to prepare for the renovation or repair job.
• What to look for during the job and after the job is done.
• Where to get more information about lead.
This pamphlet is NOT for:
• Abatement projects. Abatement is a set of activities aimed specifically at eliminating lead or lead hazards. EPA has regulations for certification and training of abatement professionals. If your goal is to eliminate lead or lead hazards, contact the
National Lead Information Center at 1-800-424-LEA D (5323) for more information.
• “Do-it-yourself” projects. If you plan to do renovation work yourself, this document is a good start, but you will need more information to complete the work safely. Call the National Lead Information Center at 1-800-424-LEA D (5323) and ask for more information on how to work safely in a home with lead-based paint.
• Contractor education. Contractors who want information about working safely with lead should contact the National Lead Information Center at 1-800-424-LEA D (5323) for information about courses and resources on lead-safe work practices.
Renovating, Repairing, or Painting?
• Is your home, your building, or the child care facility or school your children attend being renovated, repaired, or painted?
• Was your home, your building, or the child care facility or school where your children under six years of age attend built before 1978?
If the answer to these questions is YES, there are a few important things you need to know about lead-based paint.
This pamphlet provides basic facts about lead and information about lead safety when work is being done in your home, your building or the child care facility or school your children attend.
The Facts About Lead
• Lead can affect children’s brains and developing nervous systems, causing reduced IQ, learning disabilities, and behavioral problems. Lead is also harmful to adults.
• Lead in dust is the most common way people are exposed to lead. People can also get lead in their bodies from lead in soil or paint chips. Lead dust is often invisible.
• Lead-based paint was used in more than 38 million homes until it was banned for residential use in 1978.
• Projects that disturb painted surfaces can create dust and endanger you and your family. Don’t let this happen to you. Follow the practices described in this pamphlet to protect you and your family.
Lead and Your Health
Lead is especially dangerous to children under six years of age. Lead can affect children’s brains and developing nervous systems, causing:
• Reduced IQ and learning disabilities.
• Behavior problems.
Even children who appear healthy can have dangerous levels of lead in their bodies.
Lead is also harmful to adults. In adults, low levels of lead can pose many dangers, including:
• High blood pressure and hypertension.
• Pregnant women exposed to lead can transfer lead to their fetuses. Lead gets into the body when it is swallowed or inhaled.
• People, especially children, can swallow lead dust as they eat, play, and do other normal hand-to-mouth activities.
• People may also breathe in lead dust or fumes if they disturb lead-based paint.
People who sand, scrape, burn, brush or blast or otherwise disturb lead-based paint risk unsafe exposure to lead.
What should I do if I am concerned about my family’s exposure to lead?
• Call your local health department for advice on reducing and eliminating exposures to lead inside and outside your home, child care facility or school.
• Always use lead-safe work practices when renovation or repair will disturb painted surfaces.
• A blood test is the only way to find out if you or a family member already has lead poisoning. Call your doctor or local health department to arrange for a blood test.
For more information about the health effects of exposure to lead, visit the EPA lead website at www.epa.gov/lead/pubs/leadinfo.htm or call 1-800-424-LEA D (5323).
There are other things you can do to protect your family every day.
• Regularly clean floors, window sills, and other surfaces.
• Wash children’s hands, bottles, pacifiers, and toys often.
• Make sure children eat a healthy, nutritious diet consistent with the USDA’s dietary guidelines, that helps protect children from the effects of lead.
• Wipe off shoes before entering house.
Where Does the Lead Come From?
Dust is the main problem. The most common way to get lead in the body is from dust. Lead dust comes from
deteriorating lead-based paint and lead-contaminated soil that gets tracked into your home. This dust may accumulate to unsafe levels. Then, normal hand to-mouth activities, like playing and eating (especially in young children), move that dust from surfaces like floors and window sills into the body.
Home renovation creates dust.
Common renovation activities like sanding, cutting, and demolition can create hazardous lead dust and chips.
Proper work practices protect you from the dust. The key to protecting yourself and your family during a renovation, repair or painting job is to use lead-safe work practices such as containing dust inside the work area, using dust-minimizing work methods, and conducting a careful cleanup, as described here.
Other sources of lead.
Remember, lead can also come from outside soil, your water, or household items (such as lead-glazed pottery and lead crystal). Contact the National Lead Information Center at 1-800-424-LEA D (5323) for more information on these sources.
Checking Your Home for Lead-Based Paint
Older homes, child care facilities, and schools are more likely to contain lead-based paint. Homes may be single-family homes or apartments. They may be private, governmentassisted, or public housing. Schools are preschools and kindergarten classrooms. They may be urban, suburban, or rural.
You have the following options:
You may decide to assume your home, child care facility, or school contains lead. Especially in older homes and buildings, you may simply want to assume lead-based paint is present and follow the lead-safe work practices described in this brochure during the renovation, repair, or painting job.
You can hire a certified professional to check for lead-based paint. These professionals are certified risk assessors or inspectors, and can determine if your home has lead or lead hazards.
• A certified inspector or risk assessor can conduct an inspection telling you whether your home, or a portion of your home, has lead-based paint and where it is located.
This will tell you the areas in your home where lead-safe work practices are needed.
• A certified risk assessor can conduct a risk assessment telling you if your home currently has any lead hazards from lead in paint, dust, or soil. The risk assessor can also tell you what actions to take to address any hazards.
• For help finding a certified risk assessor or inspector, call the National Lead Information Center at 1-800-424-LEA D (5323).
You may also have a certified renovator test the surfaces or components being disturbed for lead using a lead test kit. Test kits must be EPA-recognized and are available at hardware stores. They include detailed instructions for their use.
For Property Owners
You have the ultimate responsibility for the safety of your family, tenants, or children in your care.
This means properly preparing for the renovation and keeping persons out of the work area. It also means ensuring the contractor uses lead-safe work practices.
Federal law requires that contractors performing renovation, repair and painting projects that disturb painted surfaces in homes, child care facilities, and schools built before 1978 be certified and follow specific work practices to prevent lead contamination.
Make sure your contractor is certified, and can explain clearly the details of the job and how the contractor will minimize lead hazards during the work.
• You can verify that a contractor is certified by checking EPA’s website at epa.gov/getleadsafe or by calling the National Lead Information Center at 1-800-424-LEA D (5323). You can also ask to see a copy of the contractor’s firm certification.
• Ask if the contractor is trained to perform lead-safe work practices and to see a copy of their training certificate.
• Ask them what lead-safe methods they will use to set up and perform the job in your home, child care facility or school.
• Ask for references from at least three recent jobs involving homes built before 1978, and speak to each personally.
Always make sure the contract is clear about how the work will be set up, performed, and cleaned.
• Share the results of any previous lead tests with the contractor.
• You should specify in the contract that they follow the work practices.
• The contract should specify which parts of your home are part of the work area and specify which lead-safe work practices will be used in those areas. Remember, your contractor should confine dust and debris to the work area and should minimize spreading that dust to other areas of the home.
• The contract should also specify that the contractor will clean the work area, verify that it was cleaned adequately, and re-clean it if necessary.
If you think a worker is not doing what he is supposed to do or is doing something that is unsafe, you should:
• Direct the contractor to comply with regulatory and contract requirements.
• Call your local health or building department, or Call EPA’s hotline 1-800-424-LEA D (5323).
If your property receives housing assistance from HUD (or a state or local agency that uses HUD funds), you must follow the requirements of HUD’s Lead-Safe Housing Rule and the ones described here.
For Tenants and Families of Children Under Six years of age in Child Care Facilities and Schools You play an important role ensuring the ultimate safety of your family.
This means properly preparing for the renovation and staying out of the work area.
Federal law requires that contractors performing renovation, repair and painting projects that disturb
painted surfaces in homes built before 1978 and in child care facilities and schools built before 1978, that
a child under six years of age visits regularly, to be certified and follow specific work practices to prevent
The law requires anyone hired to renovate, repair, or do painting preparation work on a property built before
1978 to follow the steps described on pages 9 and 10 unless the area where the work will be done contains no lead-based paint.
If you think a worker is not doing what he is supposed to do or is doing something that is unsafe, you should:
• Contact your landlord.
• Call your local health or building department, or
• Call EPA’s hotline 1-800-424-LEA D (5323).
If you are concerned about lead hazards left behind after the job is over, you can check the work yourself.
Preparing for a Renovation
The work areas should not be accessible to occupants while the work occurs. The rooms or areas where work is being done may need to be blocked off or sealed with plastic sheeting to contain any dust that is generated. Therefore, the contained area may not be available to you until the work in that room or area is complete, cleaned thoroughly, and the containment has been removed. Because you may not have access to some areas during the renovation, you should plan accordingly.
You may need:
• Alternative bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen arrangements if work is occurring in
those areas of your home.
• A safe place for pets because they too can be poisoned by lead and can track lead dust into other areas of the home.
• A separate pathway for the contractor from the work area to the outside in order to bring materials in and out of the home. Ideally, it should not be through the same entrance that your family uses.
• A place to store your furniture. All furniture and belongings may have to be moved from the work area while the work is being done. Items that can’t be moved, such as cabinets, should be wrapped in plastic.
• To turn off forced-air heating and air conditioning systems while the work is being done. This prevents dust from spreading through vents from the work area to the rest of your home. Consider how this may affect your living arrangements.
You may even want to move out of your home temporarily while all or part of the work is being done.
Child care facilities and schools may want to consider alternative accommodations for children and access to necessary facilities.
During the Work
Federal law requires contractors that are hired to perform renovation, repair and painting projects in homes, child care facilities, and schools built before 1978 that disturb painted surfaces to be certified and follow specific work practices to prevent lead contamination.
The work practices the contractor must follow include these three simple procedures, described below:
1. Contain the work area. The area must be contained so that dust and debris do not escape
from that area. Warning signs must be put up and plastic or other impermeable material
and tape must be used as appropriate to:
• Cover the floors and any furniture that cannot be moved.
• Seal off doors and heating and cooling system vents.
These will help prevent dust or debris from getting outside the work area.
2. A void renovation methods that generate large amounts of lead-contaminated dust.
Some methods generate so much lead-contaminated dust that their use is prohibited.
• Open flame burning or torching.
• Sanding, grinding, planing, needle gunning, or blasting with power tools and equipment
not equipped with a shroud and HEPA vacuum attachment.
• Using a heat gun at temperatures greater than 1100°F.
There is no way to eliminate dust, but some renovation methods make less dust than others.
Contractors may choose to use various methods to minimize dust generation, including using water to mist areas before sanding or scraping; scoring paint before separating components; and prying and pulling apart components instead of breaking them.
3. Clean up thoroughly. The work area should be cleaned up daily to keep it as clean as possible. When all the work is done, the area must be cleaned up using special cleaning methods before taking down any plastic that isolates the work area from the rest of the home. The special cleaning methods should include:
• Using a HEPA vacuum to clean up dust and debris on all surfaces, followed by
• Wet wiping and wet mopping with plenty of rinse water.
When the final cleaning is done, look around. There should be no dust, paint chips, or debris
in the work area. If you see any dust, paint chips, or debris, the area must be re-cleaned.
For Property Owners: After the Work is Done
When all the work is finished, you will want to know if your home, child care facility, or school has been cleaned up properly. Here are some ways to check.
Ask about your contractor’s final cleanup check. Remember, lead dust is often invisible to the naked eye. It may still be present even if you cannot see it. The contractor must use disposable cleaning cloths to wipe the floor of the work area and compare them to a cleaning verification card to determine if the work area was adequately cleaned.
To order a cleaning verification card and detailed instructions visit the EPA lead website at www.epa.gov/lead or contact the National Lead Information Center at 1-800-424-LEA D (5323) or visit their website at www.epa.gov/lead/nlic.htm.
You also may choose to have a lead-dust test. Lead-dust tests are wipe samples sent to a laboratory for analysis.
• You should specify in your contract that a lead-dust test will be done. In this case, make it clear who will do the testing.
• Testing should be done by a lead professional.
If you choose to do the testing, some EPA-recognized lead laboratories will send you a kit that allows you to collect samples and send them back to the lab for analysis.
Contact the National Lead Information Center at 1-800-424-LEA D (5323) for lists of qualified professionals and EPA-recognized lead labs.
If your home, child care facility, or school fails the dust test, the area should be re-cleaned and tested again.
Where the project is done by contract, it is a good idea to specify in the contract that the contractor is responsible for re-cleaning if the home, child care facility, or school fails the test.
You may need additional information on how to protect yourself and your children while a job is going on in your home, your building, or child care facility.
The National Lead Information Center at 1-800-424-LEA D (5323) or www.epa.gov/lead/nlic.htmcan tell you how to contact your state, local, and/or tribal programs or get general information about lead poisoning prevention.
• State and tribal lead poisoning prevention or environmental protection programs can provide information about lead regulations and potential sources of financial aid for reducing lead hazards. If your state or local government has requirements more stringent than those described in this pamphlet, you must follow those requirements.
• Local building code officials can tell you the regulations that apply to the renovation work that you are planning.
• State, county, and local health departments can provide information about local programs, including
assistance for lead-poisoned children and advice on ways to get your home checked for lead.
The National Lead Information Center can also provide a variety of resource materials, including the following
guides to lead-safe work practices. Many of these materials are also available atwww.epa.gov/lead/pubs/brochure.htm.
• Steps to Lead Safe Renovation, Repair and Painting.
• Protect Your Family from Lead in Your Home
• Lead in Your Home: A Parent’s Reference Guide
For Additional Information
For the hearing impaired, call the Federal Information Relay Service at 1-800-877-8339 to access any of the phone numbers in this brochure.
Hӧmm is a Certified Lead Renovator Contractor. Please contact us for any further assistance.