Did you know that before 1978, residential homes were painted with lead-based paint? Lead is a toxic metal that can cause a wide range of health problems, especially in young children.

In most cases, intact lead paint―with no cracking, chipping, or wear―is unlikely to pose health risks. However, you should always keep an eye open for the following:

  • Peeling, chipping, or cracking paints.
  • Areas susceptible to wear and tear that causes cracking or exposure to underlying layers of paint on stair railings, banisters, window sills, door frames, porches, and fences.
  • Lead dust, which may result when paint is sanded.

Another lesser-known area where lead can be found is in the soil surrounding your home, caused by flaking exterior lead-based paint.

If you’re considering buying an older home or if you live in one now, spend the extra money to have it tested for lead. Most home inspection companies can perform this test, and the results will be ready the same day.

Remember, if selling your home, federal regulations require:

  • Sellers must disclose in writing any information about known lead paint in the home. If sellers have performed lead tests, they must share the results.
  • Sales contracts must give buyers up to 10 days to check for lead hazards.
  • Home sellers or real estate agents must give home buyers a copy of the EPA publication “Protect Your Family from Lead in Your Home.”
  • Similar lead disclosure regulations apply to landlords and tenants of buildings built before 1978.

Did you know?

  • Homes built between 1960–1977: 24% chance of lead-based paint present
  • Homes built between 1940–1959: 69% chance of lead-based paint present
  • Homes built before 1940: 87% chance of lead-based paint present

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