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Lead-Based Paint

Lead-based paint is extremely dangerous. Lead poisoning often occurs with no obvious symptoms and it frequently goes unrecognized. If your home was built before 1978, you should check your home for lead-based paint. Make sure you have a qualified professional do the inspection.

Why Lead-Based Paint?

You may be asking yourself: If it’s so harmful, why did we start using it in the first place? Lead-based paint was used in homes to make the paint stronger, last longer, wear better, and dry faster. It also inhibits the growth of mildew and mold.

Family Safety

Children and pets are most at risk for lead poisoning; they play where lead dust is present and tend to put things in their mouths.

Old paint that is deteriorated becomes a problem because it crumbles into very small particles that are invisible to the naked eye. These particles of lead dust then fall to the floor inside or on the soil outside. Lead dust is created when paint gets old, is jarred, experiences friction or is exposed to extended periods of sunlight/heat or water.

Children and Pregnant Women: Children and pregnant women absorb approximately 50% of the lead they are exposed to, while adults only absorb 10-15%.

Body Absorption of Lead: Lead is absorbed into the body by eating it or breathing it in. Lead poisoning is measured by a blood test.

Lead Poisoning Facts:

  • ?Stays in the blood for 2-3 weeks while the rest is stored in the teeth, nails and bones.
  • Lead stays in the bones for 25-30 years.
  • The nervous system, reproductive system and other organs can be affected.
  • When high doses are present, coma and death can occur.
  • Lead is linked to osteoporosis, schizophrenia, autism, criminal behavior and more.

Home Inspection

Testing for lead in your home is a serious matter. And, it’s important to hire an accredited professional to come to your home to inspect the paint. The inspector will go over every different type of paint surface in your home. Most often, home buyers do this before they purchase a new home and sign the lease. Also, if you are looking to renovate your home, you should do this before starting the renovation demolition.

Agencies of Regulation

Due to the dangerous nature of lead-based paint, there are strict regulations set in place that must be adhered to. Here is a list of agencies who have taken part in issuing current guidelines.

  • HUD: (U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development): Is a cabinet department in the Executive branch of the United States federal government to?develop and execute policies on housing and metropolises.
  • EPA (Environmental Protection Agency): An agency of the U.S. federal government which was created for the purpose of protecting human health and the environment by writing and enforcing regulations based on laws passed by Congress
  • OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration): An agency of the United States of Labor.
  • CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention): The national public health institute of the United States.


Click here for the complete HUD Guidelines.

CA Lead Regulations (CDPH) ? Title 17

There are some federal laws that conflict with CA lead-based paint laws. In this case, CA laws supersede the federal ones.

  • ?35022. Deteriorated Lead-Based Paint: ?Deteriorated lead-based paint? means lead-based paint or presumed lead-based paint that is cracking, chalking, flaking, chipping, peeling, non-intact, failed, or otherwise separating from a component.
  • ?35033. Lead-Based Paint: ?Lead-based paint? means paint or other surface coatings that contain an amount of lead equal to, or in excess of: (a) one milligram per square centimeter (1.0 mg/cm2); or (b) half of one percent (0.5%) by weight.
  • ?35035. Lead-Contaminated Dust: ?Lead-contaminated dust? means dust that contains an amount of lead equal to, or in excess of: (a) forty micrograms per square foot (40 ?g/ft2) for interior floor surfaces; or (b) two hundred and fifty micrograms per square foot (250 ?g/ft2) for interior horizontal surfaces; or (c) four hundred micrograms per square foot (400 ?g/ft2) for exterior floor and exterior horizontal surfaces.
  • ?35036. Lead-Contaminated Soil: ?Lead-contaminated soil? means bare soil that contains an amount of lead equal to, or in excess of, four hundred parts per million (400 ppm) in children’s play areas and one thousand parts per million (1000 ppm) in all other areas.
  • ?35037. Lead Hazard: ?Lead hazard? means deteriorated lead-based paint, lead contaminated dust, lead contaminated soil, disturbing lead-based paint or presumed lead-based paint without containment, or any other nuisance which may result in persistent and quantifiable lead exposure.
  • ??35043. Presumed Lead-Based Paint: ?Presumed lead-based paint? means paint or surface coating affixed to a component in or on a structure constructed prior to January 1, 1978. ?Presumed lead-based paint? does not include paint or surface coating that has been tested and found to contain an amount of lead less than one milligram per square centimeter (1.0 mg/cm2) or less than half of one percent (0.5%) by weight.


To view Title 17 ? CA Code of Regulations click here.