If you live in a home built before 1978, your home most likely has lead-based paint. While lead paint is no longer sold (in fact, it’s illegal), it can still be on the walls, windows, doors and exteriors of your home. When this paint chips, peels, cracks or chalks it becomes a hazard.
Inside your home, this can create dust or small paint chips that can get on a child’s hands or toys. It only takes a small amount of lead dust to elevate the amount of lead in a child’s body.
Outside your home, lead paint can contaminate the soil around your home where paint is chipping, peeling, or cracking. Because lead was once used in gasoline and materials made at factories, soil alongside busy roadways or where factories once stood may also contain more lead.
If you live in an older home, it is important that any painted surfaces be kept in good condition. If you have chipping, peeling, cracking, or chalking paint, be sure to safely clean it up and then take steps to keep paint in good condition permanently.
What can you do?
Safely clean up hazardous lead paint and dust: Immediately protect young children from areas where paint is chipping (especially windows, doors and baseboards) by wiping surfaces with a disposable wet cloth. Never sweep chipping paint or lead dust. Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter.
Cover bare soil: Cover dirt in your yard with wood chips or grass and cover walkways with cement or gravel. Keep children’s play areas away from bare soil and plant raised-bed gardens away from buildings. Always take your shoes off when going inside so that you don’t track dirt into the house.
Keep paint in good condition: If you live in an older home it is important that any painted surfaces inside and outside be kept in good condition. Cover peeling paint or plaster temporarily with tape or contact paper. A more permanent fix is to safely remove and replace lead-painted surfaces by hiring a certified renovator or lead abatement contractor.