A Guide to Discovering and Eliminating Lead in Your Home

Before 1978, many homes were constructed that used lead-based paint on walls, window sills and other areas inside and outside. The federal government stepped in and banned the use of paint that contained lead, but it is still present in some homes today.

The biggest percentage of houses found to contain lead paint were those built earlier in the twentieth century that has had little to no renovations done. However, if lead paint was used, then painted over, it can still present a problem if the new layer of paint begins to peel, crack or fade.

How to Determine if there is Lead Present in Your Home

When purchasing a new home, the seller is required to notify the potential buyers if there is lead paint present before selling the home. As a buyer, you have ten days to hire an inspector and have the property tested for traces of lead.

The same parameters are in place for people renting an apartment or another type of home. Landlords are required to disclose any known information about the presence of lead before any lease takes effect.

Lead can potentially be found in:

  • In a variety of homes like public and private single-family structures, apartments and even in some childcare facilities regardless of location being in the city, suburbs or country.
  • On surfaces located inside and outside of the house that includes walls, soil, railings, window sills and door frames.

Get the Structure Tested

If you believe that there is lead present in the home, the first step would be to get the home tested by a professionally trained and certified inspector. Once the results are back, and it’s confirmed that there is lead in the home, there are several steps you can take to ensure the safety of your family.

Get the Family Tested

Get your children tested immediately, even if they seem healthy. Children under the age of 6 are particularly at risk for lead poisoning since they are the most likely to encounter chipping or peeling paint and lead dust particles.

Be sure to wash all their hands, pacifiers, toys, and bottles often. Lead poisoning can happen through a variety of ways including breathing in and swallowing lead dust, ingesting soil that contains lead and putting lead-based paint chips in your mouth.

Get the Water Tested

Lead-based paint is not the only possible contaminate in one’s home. Up until 1986, many homes were built with lead pipes and fixtures. Lead can enter the drinking water through plumbing corrosion, leaving those in the home exposed to lead poisoning.

The EPA guidelines and regulations for drinking water say even low levels of lead are dangerous, particularly for children and pregnant women. So, when inspecting the walls for lead-based paint, have the inspector also test the drinking water.

What to do if Lead is Discovered in the Home

If the results of the inspection show the presence of lead in the home, there are several steps you can take to reduce or control it.

While it is always recommended to seek out an EPA or state-certified lead-safe contractor to take on this project, there are things you can do.

  1. Clean up any paint chips.
  2. Dust window sills and other surfaces with a wet sponge or mop to reduce the spread of lead-based particles through the air.
  3. Be sure to remove shoes before walking through the house. This act helps to ensure any lead-based soil isn’t brought inside where it could be ingested.

Find a Licensed Lead-Removal Firm or Contractor

Should there be a need for complete removal or renovation of walls due to lead, seek out a contracting company that is state-certified in lead-safe construction. There are several ways they will be able to remove the threat, all with varying costs attached.


It is recommended by several sources that you do not try and remove the lead yourself due to the potential health risks. However, if an area of lead paint discovered is not damaged or chipped, it can be encapsulated with a specially made paint that will create a watertight seal over the hazardous paint.

The dangers of lead poisoning are series and can be potentially life-threatening. If you are moving into a new home, or suspect your current home may contain the presence of lead, do not hesitate to get an inspection and have your family tested to ensure their continued health.


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