Why is lead in some homes?
Lead is a highly toxic metal that was used for many years
in products found in and around our homes. In general, the older a home, the more likely it has lead-based paint. The most
common sources of household lead are:
• Paint- The federal government
banned lead-based paint
• from housing
in 1978, but homes built before this time
• may have used
• Dust- Household dust
can be contaminated with lead from
• paint, as
can the soil around a house whose exterior was
• painted with
• Drinking water- Your
home might have plumbing with lead
• or lead solder.
Can lead cause health problems?
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, slowed growth, hearing
problems and headaches.
Lead is also harmful to adults. Adults can suffer from difficulties
during pregnancy, high blood pressure, digestive problems, nerve disorders, memory and concentration problems, and muscle
and joint pain.
What should I do about lead?
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 are not permanent
solutions and will need ongoing attention.
To permanently remove lead hazards, you must hire a certified
lead abatement contractor. Abatement methods include removing, sealing, or enclosing lead-based paint with special materials.
Who should do the cleanup?
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. Certified
contractors will employ qualified workers and follow strict safety rules set by their state or the federal government. Contact
the National Lead Information Center for help with locating certified contractors in your area and to see if financial assistance is available.
The above information is provided as a public service by the
Environmental Protection Agency for educational purposes.