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Lead Based Paint Guide

Protect Your Family from Lead in Your Home...

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.

If you think your home might have lead hazards, read the following pages to learn some simple steps to protect your family:

. Important Lead-Based Paint Facts
. How Lead Enters and Affects Our Bodies
. Check Your Family for Lead
. Where Lead-Based Paint Can Be 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
. Renovating a Home with Lead-Based Paint
. Other Sources of Lead
. For More Information
. State Health and Environmental Agencies
Important Lead-Based Paint Facts
Lead exposure can harm young children and babies even before they are born.
Even children that seem healthy can have high levels of lead in their bodies.
People can get lead in their bodies by breathing or swallowing lead dust, or by eating soil or paint chips with lead in them.
People have many options for reducing lead hazards. In most cases, lead-based paint that is in good condition is not a hazard.
Removing lead-based paint improperly can increase the danger to your family.
How Lead Enters and Affects Our Bodies
People can get lead in their body if they:
Put their hands or other objects covered 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 than adults.
Children's brains and nervous systems are more sensitive to the damaging effects of lead.
Lead's Effects
If not detected early, 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
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 pain
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Check Your Family for 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 your 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 Can Be Found
Many homes built 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 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:
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 re-enter 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.

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Checking Your Home for Lead Hazards
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 florescence machine
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 entering 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
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 in 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.

Always use a professional who is trained to remove lead hazards safely. 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
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 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 this web site to protect your family.

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 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 you 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

Email: 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.

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

Email: info@cpsc.gov

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.
State/RegionPhone NumberState/RegionPhone Number
Alabama (205)242-5661 Nebraska (402)471-2451
Alaska (907)465-5152 Nevada (702)687-6615
Arkansas (501)661-2534 New Hampshire (603)271-4507
Arizona (602)542-7307 New Jersey (609)633-2043
California (510)450-2424 New Mexico (505)841-8024
Colorado (303)692-3012 New York (800)458-1158
Connecticut (203)566-5808 North Carolina (919)715-3293
Delaware (302)739-4735 North Dakota (701)328-5188
Florida (904)488-3385 Ohio (614)466-1450
Georgia (404)657-6514 Oklahoma (405)271-5220
Hawaii (808)832-5860 Oregon (503)248-5240
Idaho (208)332-5544 Pennsylvania (717)782-2884
Illinois (800)545-2200 Rhode Island (401)277-3424
Indiana (317)382-6662 South Carolina (803)935-7945
Iowa (800)972-2026 South Dakota (605)773-3153
Kansas (913)296-0189 Tennessee (615)741-5683
Kentucky (502)564-2154 Texas (512)834-6600
Louisiana (504)765-0219 Utah (801)536-4000
Massachusetts (800)532-9571 Vermont (802)863-7231
Maryland (410)631-3859 Virginia (800)523-4019
Maine (207)287-4311 Washington (206)753-2556
Michigan (517)335-8885 Washington,DC (202)727-9850
Minnesota (612)627-5498 West Virginia (304)558-2981
Mississippi (601)960-7463 Wisconsin (608)266-5885
Missouri (314)526-4911 Wyoming (307)777-7391
 &nbps;Montana (406)444-3671

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Federal law requires that individuals receive certain information before renting, buying, or renovating pre-1978 housing:

LANDLORDS 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 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 have to give you the pamphlet entitled "Protect Your Family From Lead in Your Home" before starting work. IF YOU WANT more information on these requirements, call the National Lead Information Clearinghouse at 1-800-424-LEAD.

Note: All lead hazard information contained herein reproduced from the United States Environmental Protection Agency booklet entitled "Protect Your Family From Lead in Your Home". Co-Authored by the U.S. EPA and the U.S. CPSC, Washington, D.C. Information on this web site pertaining to lead hazards 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.

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  Steve Hatfield
REALTOR® ABR, CRS, e-PRO Certified
CENTURY 21 Curran & Christie
25636 Ford Road
Dearborn Heights, MI 48127
Office: (313) 274-7200
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Licensed Realtor® Since 1987 (#6501221773)
realtor Accredited Buyer Representative Certified Residential Specialist e-PRO

Steve Hatfield, Realtor® provides professional real estate / home buying services to buyers and sellers in Dearborn Michigan, Dearborn Heights Michigan, the Wayne County MI (Southeast Michigan) communities of Livonia, Canton, Redford, Westland, Garden City, Plymouth, Northville and the Oakland County cities of Farmington / Farmington Hills and Novi Michigan.

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Copyright © 1996 - Steve Hatfield
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