What Home Owners Need to Know About Lead Paint

Home Maintenance and Design
Contact: Anna Briseno
Senior Director, External Communications
(202) 266-8132

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) enacted a new rule for professional contractors in April 2010 to help protect children from the dangers of lead dust exposure.

If you live in a home built before 1978 and you’re contemplating any work that will disturb more than six square feet of painted surfaces inside the home or 20 square feet on the exterior of the home, for example, replacing a window, installing cabinets, or adding on to your home, the contractor you hire is required by law to be trained and certified by the EPA.

Keep your family safe from the dangers of lead exposure by hiring an EPA Lead-Safe Certified Renovator. Call your local home builders’ association for a list of certified remodelers or use EPA’s online tool to find a certified renovator near you.

Tips for Home Owners

  1. Hire an EPA Lead-Safe Certified Renovator for your home remodeling project.
    Professional remodelers who have achieved EPA Lead-Safe Certification are trained and prepared to work in pre-1978 homes for minimizing dust and potential lead paint exposures. These workers also have certified their firms and will carry an EPA seal verifying their qualifications to follow lead-safe work practices. Certified renovators have the knowledge and tools to contain dust and keep your family safe. Do not attempt remodeling work yourself or hire an uncertified remodeler, as this puts you or a family member at risk of lead poisoning. Use the search tool on the EPA website to find a Lead-Safe Certified Renovator near you or call your local home builders’ association for a list of certified remodelers.
  2. Read Renovate Right.
    Your certified renovator will provide you a copy of the Renovate Right brochure produced by the EPA. This brochure describes the dangers of lead poisoning and how the practices of the remodeler will be employed to contain dust, clean, and minimize the dangers of lead paint exposure.
  3. Pay attention to warning signs and do not enter containment areas.
    The certified renovator will post warning signs and set up areas of containment using plastic to keep dust under control. Pay attention to these notices and stay away from these areas. The remodeler uses these techniques and lead-safe work practices to minimize lead dust exposure.
  4. Consider testing for lead.
    You may ask the certified renovator to use LeadCheck or D-Lead test kits for testing certain surfaces for lead. If the test comes back negative, the remodeler will not need to use lead-safe work practices because the component has tested lead-free. Alternatively, a home owner may choose to hire a certified risk assessor or lead inspector to conduct testing in the home for lead. Any pre-1978 home can be tested for lead and if the results are negative, the EPA lead rule does not apply.
  5. Maintain records about your home remodel.
    After the remodeling job is complete, the EPA certified renovator will share records with you, such as a checklist describing the work practices used and any results from lead testing. Be sure to keep these records and share them with the next home owner if you should sell your home.