Lead is all around us.
It can cause irreversible neurological damage, developmental issues, and possibly death. Thankfully, our government has put into place laws to protect its citizens against the effects of lead and to see its removal if it poses a hazard. This is good news for you as a bystander, but as a property owner, navigating the bureaucratic maze of laws, certifications, and warnings can quickly become a nightmare to remove it. We’re here to help.
First, the EPA sees lead paint as the biggest threat to our safety (it is the leading cause of lead poisoning in the United States), and any kind of removal you do will likely be scrutinized for this element. Paint made before 1978 contains lead, and therefore buildings built before this time may contain lead in the paint.
Therefore, if you fit this criterion or simply want to follow safe and lawful procedure, follow these steps:
1) If you own a property built before 1978, hire a Lead-Safe Renovation Contractor.
2) Contractors, property managers, and others who perform renovations for compensation in residential houses, apartments, and child-occupied facilities built before 1978 are required to distribute a lead pamphlet to unit owners and adult occupants before starting work.
3) Contractors and other entities are required to be licensed by DLS; their employees must be trained in the use of lead-safe work practices, and those lead-safe work practices must be followed to minimize occupants’ exposure to lead hazards.
4) Watch this Public Service Announcement from mass.gov.
5) Finally, you can buy a lead paint test kit from Home Depot (search “lead paint test kit”) to see if your walls’ paint has lead.
For more information on lead, visit epa.gov and search for “lead”.