Lead Paint Disclosure Form
If you are in the process of purchasing a home, be sure to obtain a lead paint disclosure form.
The seller is required to provide this information if the house was built prior to 1978.
In 1992 Congress passed the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act. What this law did was to force the EPA and HUD to require this type of disclosure regarding the presence and location of lead based paint prior to the sale.
The hazards exist whether you plan to remodel or not, but additional concerns apply to renovating space with lead based paint.
Lead Paint Poisoning
Lead paint poisoning is more common than most folks think.
According to the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services lead was said to be the "number one environmental threat to the health of children in the United States."
The World Health Organization states that because “children are in a dynamic state of growth with cells multiplying fast and organ systems developing at a rapid rate” that they are the most vulnerable to environmental threats.
Poisoning by lead based paint is one of those threats. That is why congress had passed the law requiring the Lead Paint Disclosure Form.
Currently it is believed that the number of cases is declining significantly since the estimated 3 to 4 million back in over 1 million children have accelerated levels of lead in the US alone.
In 1978, the Federal government banned lead paint in the US housing industry although many other countries had done it much earlier. The ban extended to sales to the general public.
Homes built before 1978 are likely to have lead based paint. In good condition, it usually does not pose a hazard. It is only when it starts to deteriorate that it becomes dangerous.
If there is any indication that paint is starting to chip, peel or crack it must be tended to immediately to avoid creating a hazard for family members.
In children, high levels of lead can often be misdiagnosed as ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder). This is due to the fact that elevated levels can cause damage to the brain and nervous systems creating both behavior and learning problems.
It can also slow down growth of children and lead to other problems when they get to adulthood such as infertility.
In adults, it can cause problems during pregnancies, high blood pressure, nervous and digestive disorders as well as memory and concentration problems.
Remodeling and Lead Paint
In addition to the lead paint disclosure form required at the time of sale, by federal law, if your home was constructed before 1978; contractors must provide homeowners with a pamphlet entitled; Protecting Your Family from Lead in Your Home.
This pamphlet is a must read especially if you plan to live in the house during the construction phase. Be sure to question your contractor during the interview stage about the federal regulations.
It is just as important if your project is mainly cosmetic (painting or wallpapering). If walls, trim, doors or windows will be stripped and it lead paint exists, then the contractor must follow all federal guidelines for removing lead paint.
Although it varies from state to state, it may mean that the contractor has to hire a licensed lead abatement contractor.
Another good source of information for protecting your home from this hazard during the remodeling process is called “Reducing Lead Hazards When Remodeling Your Home”.
Also note that exterior renovating can also create lead hazards. If proper care is not taken during construction or cosmetic repair, lead paint chips can fall to the ground and contaminate the soil where children play.
As with other health hazards, be diligent with your contractor about protecting your family.
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