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How Can I Check My Home for Lead Paint?

By Ross Testaiuti, Law Clerk

Ross Testaiuti, Law Clerk

Numerous residences across New York City, including a significant portion of NYCHA buildings, apartments, and homes, were constructed prior to 1976, making them more likely to contain lead-based paint.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), older homes are more likely to contain lead-based paint.  For instance, approximately 87% of homes constructed before 1940 are found to have some form of lead-based paint, while approximately 24% of homes built between 1960 and 1978 contain lead-based paint.

Lead-based paint may be present in various types of dwellings, including private single-family homes, apartments, government-assisted housing, and public housing units, spanning urban, suburban, and rural settings.

The EPA recommends:

  • Adopt a precautionary approach by assuming that your home contains lead-based paint, especially if your home was built before 1978 ones, and take the necessary safety measures. This is the simplest and safest method for such properties.
  • Have a certified professional inspect for lead-based paint. Certified lead-based paint inspectors or risk assessors can thoroughly examine homes by conducting inspections to identify the presence and location of lead-based paint in your home. A certified risk assessor can also conduct a risk assessment to evaluate any lead hazards arising from lead in paint, dust, or soil and provide guidance on addressing these hazards. To locate a certified risk assessor or inspector, you can contact the National Lead Information Center at 1-800-424-LEAD (5323).
  • Most hardware stores have lead test kits available for purchase. However, it’s important to exercise caution when using these kits, as the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has indicated that they may not always provide reliable results.
  • To determine the presence of lead-based paint in your residence, the EPA advises having a certified inspector or risk assessor check your home. In pre-1978 homes or childcare facilities subject to regulations governing renovation, repair, and painting, the EPA has acknowledged the suitability of three lead test kits. However, it’s important to note that this recognition is exclusively applicable when these kits are employed by renovators who hold Lead-Safe Certification.
  • The EPA recommends hiring a certified inspector or risk assessor accurate results when testing for lead-based paint in your home. EPA has recognized three lead test kits for use by Lead-Safe Certified renovators specifically for determining lead-based paint presence in pre-1978 housing and childcare facilities subject to renovation, repair, and painting regulations.
  • Another option is to contact a laboratory recognized under EPA’s National Lead Laboratory Accreditation Program (NLLAP) for lead paint chip, dust, or soil sample analysis. A list of available NLLAP laboratories, along with their recognized sample types, can be found here.

If you or a loved one suspect lead paint poisoning, please contact our experienced lead paint poisoning attorneys for a free initial consultation on your case.

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