Lead in the Home

Lead (Pb.), a common and serious hazard!

Lead is a metal with a very low melting point. It is soft, it is easy to work, it is an easy to use paint and glazing additive and it is poisonous.

Some archaeologists have speculated that the Roman Empire collapsed because of lead poisoning as a result of lead water lines in the homes of the wealthy and powerful citizens of Rome. Modern studies suggest that as many as one in eleven children suffer from lead poisoning. We also know that lead was a common metal in various household materials which were in common use until 1978 (and in less common use after that date).

Lead poisoning is a very serious concern, especially so for small children. Dealing with lead contamination can be very expensive and complicated. Recent changes in the law require disclosure of lead contamination and of a potential for lead contamination during the sale, rental, and lease of certain real estate properties.


  • (Information from the National Lead Information Clearinghouse)

    *If not conducted properly, certain types of renovations can release lead from paint and dust into the air.*

    Take precautions before you begin remodeling or renovations that disturb painted surfaces (such as scraping off paint or tearing out walls):

    • Have the area tested for lead-based paint.
    • Do not use a dry scraper, belt-sander, propane torch, or heat gun to remove lead-based paint. These actions create large amounts of lead dust and fumes. Lead dust can remain in your home long after the work is done.
    • Temporarily move your family (especially children and pregnant women) out of the apartment or house until the work is done and the area is properly cleaned. If you can't move your family, at least completely seal off the work area.
    • Follow other safety measures to reduce lead hazards. You can find out about other safety measures by calling 1-800-424-LEAD. Ask for the brochure "Reducing Lead Hazards When Remodeling Your Home." This brochure explains what to do before, during, and after renovations.

    If you have already completed renovations or remodeling that could have released lead-based paint or dust, get your young children tested and follow the steps outlined above in this brochure.

  • Dust control is a mandatory part of any construction project. There is not such thing as 'safe' dust. Special care is required whenever dust is produced. This includes dust which contains: wood fiber, plaster, fiberglass, asbestos, rodent droppings and endless list of materials likely to be found in and around a home.

    A good construction contract should include a provision for the control of dust and for the proper and prompt disposal of all construction related debris.

  • You are not alone with your lead concerns. See The Sound Home Consultant for other homeowners questions and George's Answers in the section on Q&A #11: Healthy Home and Environment.

  • Need more information about Lead? Got Lead? is the latest publication by Terry Meany. This book contains detailed information about lead, why its a problem, how to deal with it and how to deal with the rules and regulations. As with Terry's other books, this one is written in a very readable and useful manor.

    For more information: (425) 487-9836 kinspubl@wolfenet.com. To order send $12.00 to: Terry F. Meany, 8120 NE 158th Place, Kenmore, WA 98028.