So what’s the “heavy” on Lead Paint?

Did you know that most homes built in the United States before 1978 contain lead? And not just on the walls….

Of course, the walls and window sills are probably your biggest sources of lead in your house, but elevated levels of lead may also be found in:

  1. Lead dust (that paint that’s peeling on your window sills breaks down into dust and can be more easily breathed in);
  2. Drinking water;
  3. Older painted toys and furniture (remember that mantle from your grandmother’s house you loved and incorporated into your living room? It just might contain lead paint!);
  4. Certain hobbies can expose you to lead – such as stained-glass making or pottery (glazes)

Here are the actual levels that are considered dangerous by the EPA:

  1. Paint: Equal to or greater than 1.0 mg/sq. centimeter or .5% weight
  2. Floor space: Equal to or greater than 40 micrograms/square foot
  3. Window sills: Equal to or greater than 250 micrograms/square foot

How should you check for lead? Hire a trained, certified professional to do the testing. They will first perform a paint inspection by taking flakes from certain areas and testing them. Then a risk assessment will be performed, including any possible lead dust from your windows, etc.

What do you do if you find lead present? You need to perform a lead abatement – meaning you need to call a qualified, trained professional who has special training in removing or sealing the areas containing lead. Also, I suggest checking out the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) web site at:

Remember! Sellers MUST disclose any known lead issues to future buyers and buyers MUST be given the opportunity to test for lead, if they so desire. The normal protocol is for the lead inspection to take place during the customary 10 day inspection period, so it’s vital that you use a qualified, trained professional to do the testing and receive the results in time.

If you have any questions or, if you happen to live in the Arlington, Mass area, feel free to check out my web site at for further information and listings of local resources.



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