What Year Was Lead Paint Banned

Myth #: Only Residential Paint Is A Problem As Children Dont Get Exposed To Industrial Paints

Why was Lead Paint BANNED?!

Both children and adults are exposed to lead paint so-called industrial applications used on roads, highways, steel structures, industrial buildings, automobiles and other vehicles, and farm equipment. Exposures result when these paints deteriorate and contribute to dust and soil contamination, or when the paint is removed during routine maintenance. In addition, workers are exposed to lead during construction and repainting and often take home lead dust on their hands, hair, shoes, cars and clothes. Many cases of childhood lead poisoning can be attributed to take home lead exposures from these sources. Furthermore, industrial paints can be applied to homes, schools, or consumer products.

Continued Use Of Lead Paint After 1978

Even though the U.S. banned the manufacturing and sale of lead paint over 40 years ago, the truth is that some contractors continued to use it for years afterward. Most experts recommend keeping paint in cans only for the job, then taking the remainder to a recycling center for disposal. As many homeowners are well aware, though, paint can remain useful in cans for much longer than that. In fact, people might use paint that they bought a decade before.

In the case of lead paint, this is particularly true. At the time it was banned, many professional painters and homeowners stocked up on it because they liked it better than the alternatives available at the time.

Chip Glennon is the owner and broker associate of Chip Glennon Real Estate Experts. Photo courtesy of Glennon.

As a result, home inspectors sometimes find lead paint in homes that were not built until the 1990s. Once it is put on the wall, it may survive there more or less indefinitely.

At first glance, 1978 can seem like a good cut-off date for large projects involving lead inspection/remediation for things like apartments public housing. However, if a building was constructed/painted in 1979 or 1980, is the likelihood of it containing lead low enough to justify not testing for it? What about 1985?

What Are The Health Risks Of Lead Paint

Theres a good reason that lead-based paint was banned in the United States. Lead is a toxic metal, and if you have it in your home, its important to take steps to ensure you limit the health risks to you and your family.

Children are at increased risk for lead poisoning, through ingestion from several sources. They have a tendency to chew on lead-painted surfaces. These may include door edges, window sills, built-in shelving, and even some toys. Lead paint chips and dust can coat their sticky fingers as they play on the ground and subsequently put those fingers in their mouths. Both children and adults are most at risk when lead paint peels, cracks, chips, or deteriorates over time and produces lead dust.

When lead dust particles are inhaled, they can lead to serious and sometimes fatal health problems. Symptoms include the following:

  • High blood pressure
  • Fertility problems in both men and women

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What Is Lead Paint

Lead paint and lead-based paint are common terms used to describe any household paint that contains lead. Prior to the 1980s, lead was commonly added to paints to accelerate the drying process, maintain durability, and add moisture resistance. It was a cheap, effective way to manufacture paint.

In the United States, lead was banned from inclusion in household paints in 1978 due to the serious health risks associated with its use. Non-leaded pigments, anti-corrosive agents, and driers are now widely available and frequently used by paint manufacturers, so youre not likely to find lead-based paint on the shelf of your local hardware or paint store.

What Does This Mean For At

Identifying lead poisoning exposure hazards in residential housing ...

When buying or renting a home, it could be faulty for households to assume every structure built after 1978 is 100% lead-free. At present, sellers who own homes built prior to 1978 are required to notify buyers that the home may have lead paint due entirely to its age. Landlords typically have similar rules regarding lead paint diclosure. What buyers do with this information is generally left to them.

Lead poisoning can be virtually silent until it reaches a critical level. In fact, people might not notice a problem for years before they sustain serious health issues.

This is partly due to the fact that certain parts of the population are more susceptible to negative effects of lead exposure. In particular, developing fetuses, infants, and children may suffer the most. Inhalation or consumption of lead leads to developmental delays.

Lead paint poses a unique threat to children, who may crawl around on floors with paint dust, or chew on a windowsill that contains old lead paint.

Given that lead paint might have been used in homes built as late as the mid-1990s, households with young children or pregnant mothers might consider arranging for lead testing in homes constructed in the years after the ban.

When households consider how lead paint can put them and their families at risk, they may prefer to take caution with homes built in the early 1980s instead of having a hard cut-off at 1978.

Chip Glennon is the owner and broker associate of Chip Glennon Real Estate Experts.

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Where Does The Lead

In New York City, Local Law 1 of 2004, and its amendments, require landlords to identify and remediate lead-based paint hazards in the apartments where there is a young child, using trained workers and safe work practices.

Lead-based paint hazards are presumed to exist in dwelling units and common areas if:

  • The building was built before January 1, 1960
  • The building has tenant-occupied rental apartments and
  • A child under the age of six resides in the dwelling unit.
  • “Resides” means to routinely spend 10 or more hours per week in a dwelling unit, which includes both a child who lives in the apartment and a child who just visits for this period of time.

Since 2004, most of Local Law 1 has applied to residential buildings with three or more units. Starting in February 2021, all of Local Law 1 of 2004 also applies to tenant-occupied, one- and two-unit buildings.

This means that, unless a property owner has tested the painted surfaces and maintains records of that testing, they must presume that the paint is lead-based paint and follow the instructions under the law for doing any types of work that could disturb a lead-based paint surface. If the owner has tested the surfaces throughout the apartments, they should see HPDs Exemption application below.

For a general overview of what landlords must do and what every tenant should know, download the Lead Paint Hazards in the Home pamphlet. Click on specific topics below and continue reading this page for more information.

Myth #: Some Lead Pigments Are Not A Problem Because They Have Low Solubility

Some pigment manufacturers and others have defended the ongoing use of lead additives in paints by claiming that these chemicals have low solubility. Although lead compounds do differ in their solubility, there is no evidence to suggest that this stops lead from being absorbed through the lungs or ingested when trapped on the upper airways. In addition, research suggests that some lead compounds with lower solubility may pose a greater hazard as these particles can remain longer in the lung and may increase their potential to cause cancer. There is no scientific evidence linking low-solubility with so-called lower bioavailability, which is why virtually all regulations govern total lead and not soluble lead.

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If Your Home Was Built Before 1:

  • Wipe down flat surfaces, like window sills, with a damp paper towel and throw away the paper towel,
  • Mop smooth floors weekly to control dust,
  • Take off shoes when entering the house
  • Vacuum carpets and upholstery to remove dust,
  • If possible, use a vacuum with a HEPA filter or a “higher efficiency” collection bag,
  • Pick up loose paint chips carefully with a paper towel and discard in the trash, then wipe the surface clean with a wet paper towel,
  • Take precautions to avoid creating lead dust when renovating or maintaining your home,
  • Test for lead hazards by a lead professional. .

Do You Think You May Have Lead Paint In Your Home

With hundreds of properties still deemed hazardous, lead paint problems persist in Cleveland area

If your home is one of the millions in the United States with surfaces coated in lead paint, its important that youre able to identify it to protect your familys health and safety should the paint begin to deteriorate, or should you decide to remodel your home. While there are some telltale signs that your paint may contain lead, the safest and surest way to identify it is by having a sample of your paint professionally tested.

JSE Labs provides reliable, quick results and can test your sample not just for lead, but also for asbestos and other toxic contaminants. Contact us with any questions, and collect and mail in your sample to one of our Portland-area locations.

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The Cost Of Reformulating

A common refrain from manufacturers is that the cost of eliminating lead will be prohibitive, potentially putting them out of business, and that consumers will have to pay more. However, the UNEP report found that paints with and without lead are both sold almost everywhere at comparable prices. Boysens 1030% price increase notwithstanding, the report notes that an informal survey of manufacturers indicates minimal increases in material costs and unaffected sales prices. Rather, its the time and effort to reformulate paint recipes that typically pose the greatest challenge, particularly for smaller companies.

Any costs are likely to be negated by paint companies having increased access to markets where lead is restricted, says Steve Sides of the International Paint and Printing Ink Council , an association of international trade associations and a GAELP member. Sides notes that IPPIC members come mainly from industrialized countries that already have restrictions on lead use in paints. Calling lead-based paint an archaic technology, Sides says IPPIC strongly supports the alliances overall goals, in particular the need for regulation to create a level playing field among paint companies.

Myth #: Lead Paint Only Impacts Childrens Health

Adults are also over exposed to lead in the course of applying, disturbing and removing lead paint. These exposures can be very significant and dozens of studies have documented the increase in workers blood lead levels from these sources. Lead causes many adverse health effects in adults and even low levels are linked to elevated blood pressure, associated with at least 674,000 deaths per year globally. Even so-called low levels in pregnant women result in reduced fetal growth and lower birth weight.

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Renovation Repair And Painting

The EPA issued a new regulation called ‘Renovation, Repair and Painting’ regarding the renovation of residential housing and child-occupied buildings built before 1978 on April 22, 2008. The rule ) became effective April 22, 2010. Under the rule, contractors performing renovation, repair and painting projects that disturb lead-based coatings in child-occupied facilities built before 1978 must be certified and must follow specific work practices to prevent lead contamination. EPAâs RRP rule impacts many construction trades, including general contractors and special trade contractors, painters, plumbers, carpenters, glaziers, wood floor refinishers and electricians. Activities performed by all of these trades can disturb lead-based paint and have the potential to create hazardous lead dust. For most individuals, eight hours of training is required. However, individuals who have successfully completed renovation courses developed by HUD or EPA, or an abatement worker or supervisor course accredited by EPA or an authorized State or Tribal program, can become certified renovators by taking a four-hour EPA-accredited renovator refresher training.

Although the rule was not fully implemented until April 2010, certain elements were required before, and others required attention well before April 2010.

Myth #: Lead Paint In Homes And Schools Is Not A Big Problem As You Can Easily Remove It


It is difficult to safely remove lead paint as sanding, scraping, torching, or power sanding can release lead dust, expose workers, and contaminate the building and surrounding area. The use of dangerous solvents including methylene chloride can poison workers and also leave behind significant contamination. If not performed correctly by trained crews, the removal of lead paint can create a more hazardous environment and result in higher exposures to building occupants. Often the best way to abate lead paint is to remove and replace building components.

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How To Test For Lead Paint

Walls can also be tested for surface lead using a paint testing kit available at your local hardware store. For the test, you rub a solution on the wall. If the solution turns pink, you have lead.

The problem is, the test has limits. It finds lead only on the surface. If the lead-based paint was covered up by new paint, the test wont work. And while covering lead-based paint is one way to limit its danger, it isnt the best way.

When painters encapsulate lead-based paint, they can miss spots, says Sisson. Common spots like around windows can still have exposed lead, which can cause lead dust to disperse throughout your house when you touch the area.

When Lead Paint Is Most Dangerous

Lead-based paint is most dangerous when it is deterioratingpeeling, chipping, chalking, cracking, etc. Take extreme caution if you plan to disturb the paint for a big renovation, a repair, or simply a new coat. These activities can create toxic lead dust.

“If you’re going to disturb the surface and create dust and flakes that will become airborne, the concern is that you would breathe it in,” says Lambert. “So you have to treat it for lead.”

To avoid contact with toxic lead dust, painters must wear filtered masks, specialized suits, and gloves, Lambert says. They also must seal the area , so the dust doesn’t spread to other rooms, and properly dispose of any materials, especially if demolition is involved.

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How To Protect Your Family

If your home was built after 1978, you are most likely fine.

Even if your home was built before 1978, you may not be immediately at risk. Just be sure that the paint on your walls is not deteriorating and is in good shape. Household dust can contain lead from the paint on the walls, but if you are diligent about dusting and vacuuming , the lead-based paint should not be a problem.

“You do not have to treat an area for lead-based paint if you’re not going to disturb the surface,” says Mark Lambert, the owner of Five Star Painting of Colorado Springs and an EPA lead-safe certified contractor.

If you have children in your home, though, make sure they are not chewing on railings or other paint-covered surfaces, or touching walls and then putting their hands in their mouths. To keep children completely safe, consider treating any lead paintcovered surfaces.

Contractors Are Required To Be Certified

Lead based Paint PSA (60sec) – U.S. EPA

A lead certification is required for any and all renovation activities that disturb more than 6 square feet of interior or 20 square feet of exterior lead paint in residential or child-occupied facilities built before 1978. When using a contractor check to see if they are certified for lead paint removal.

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Myth #: There Are Regulations In Place Banning The Use Of Lead Paint

Very few countries have completely banned all uses of lead paint and even in the U.S., Canada and Europe it is legal to use industrial lead paints for many applications. A few countries including the Philippines have regulated the lead content of both residential and industrial paints. In Europe regulators are trying to ban paint ingredients containing lead on a chemical-by-chemical basis and have banned the use of lead chromate pigments. Efforts to restrict the use of lead paint date back to the 1920’s, but it was not banned for residential use in the U.S. until 1978.

The Banning Of Lead Based Paint: When And Why

The banning of lead based paint happened in 1978 when the Consumer Products Safety Commission banned the sale of lead based paint for residential use. This means that any homes built in 1978 could still have used lead-based paint, because existing supplies of paint containing lead would still have been available. Lead was added to paint as far back as Colonial times for color and durability. Over time, as medical knowledge of the risks of lead evolved, prohibition of lead-based paint began to expand.When it comes to health risks of lead, children under age 6 are most at-risk from small amounts of lead. This is because their bodies are still developing and during normal and frequent playing or hand-to-mouth activity, children may swallow or inhale dust from their hands, toys, food or other objects. In children, lead poses the following risks: Nervous system and kidney damage. Decreased intelligence, attention deficit disorder, and learning disabilities. Speech, language, and behavior problems.

For adults, pregnant women are especially at risk from exposure to lead. Lead is passed from the mother to the fetus and can cause the following: Miscarriages

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When To Hire Professionals

You can hire an inspector or risk assessor to check your home for lead hazards in a particular area or every surface in your home. You can find a certified inspector near you at epa.gov/lead. If you are considering buying an older home, include a lead paint test in the inspection. Sellers are required to disclose the presence of lead paint, but they might be unaware that it’s there.

If you already own a home and know it was built before 1978, ask potential contractors about lead paint tests. Not all are certified to deal with lead paint, and some may not think to ask if a house was built after 1978. Dealing with lead-based paint makes jobs more difficult and costly Lambert says it can raise a quote by 25 percent or more. Some contractors may forgo suggesting a test because they would have to raise their bids and risk losing the job.


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