American Home Inspector Directory
Lead Paint




Lead Paint - Testing - Lead Poisoning

Approximately three-quarters of the housing in the United States built before 1978 (about 64 million dwellings) contain lead-based paint. When properly maintained and managed, this paint possesses little risk. However, 1.7 million children have blood-lead levels above safe limits, mostly due to exposure to lead-based paint hazards at home.

Affects brain

Lead poisoning can cause permanent damage to the brain and create reduced intelligence and behavioral problems. Lead also can damage other organs and can cause abnormal fetal development in pregnant women. People can get lead in their bodies by breathing or swallowing lead dust, or by eating soil or paint chips with lead in them.

Often found in pre-1978 housing

The Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction ACT of 1992 directs the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to ensure people receive information needed to protect themselves from lead-based paint hazards.

New rule this fall

Beginning this fall most home buyers and renters will receive information on lead-based paint and lead-based paint hazards when they buy or rent housing built before 1978. Some housing, such as efficiency apartments, dormitories, vacation rentals, adult housing and foreclosure sales are not covered.

Under the rule, sellers, landlords, and their agents will be responsible for providing information to buyers or renters before a sale or lease.

Home buyers will have 10 days to conduct a lead-based paint inspection or risk assessment at their own expense. The rule gives the two parties flexibility to negotiate key terms of the evaluation.

The new rule does not require any testing or removal of lead-based paint by sellers or landlords and does not invalidate leasing and sales contracts.

Pamphlet available

For a copy of the Environmental Protection Agency pamphlet, Protect Your Family from Lead in Your Home, sample disclosure forms, or the rule itself, call the National Lead Information Center (NLIC) at (800) 424-5323, or TDD (800) 526-5456 for the hearing impaired. You may also send your request by fax to (202) 659-1192 or by e-mail to The EPA pamphlet and rule also are available electronically and may be accessed through the Internet.

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