Lead Based Paint

What Is Lead Based Paint?

vintage dutch boy white lead paint can

IMPORTANT: This blog post only includes some of the information you may need to know about Lead Based Paint,  learn more by visiting the inks provided in this post which will take you right to the source, like the governing authorities like the EPA.

What exactly is lead based paint? The U. S.  government classifies a paint as lead based if it contains lead equal to or exceeding one milligram per square centimeter (1 mg sq cm) by weight containing more than 0.06% weight of dried product. There are two different methods used to determine if an existing structure has been painted with lead based paint, each of these methods provides different information. The first way method is a lead inspection, more detail about the procedures for lead inspections, can be found outlined in the HUD Guidelines, Chapter 7, 1997 Revision.

The other testing is a lead-based paint risk assessment. In this testing, you take a sample of the paint from several areas of the home by wiping or cutting out a small sample of paint, making certain to get through all layers of paint. This is the method used by construction companies and remodelers. Some homeowners may choose to do both tests just to be on the safe side.

The use of lead based paint in the US resulted in a court case against the Lead Industries Association and it was banned for use in residential housing in 1978 by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission. In the July 1904 edition of its monthly publication, the Sherwin-Williams Paint revealed dangers of Lead Based Paint as well as those of a French expert in the field warned .

Which Homes Are At Risk of Lead Based Paint?

lead paint chartFor the most part, homes may have been painted with lead paint, if built before 1978. You can still find lead paint in millions of homes today as it was often painted over and could be in the layers beneath the newer paint. If you cannot see any chipping and no dust coming from the painted areas, then it is usually should not be a problem to you or others. However, the main problem with the lead based paint is with painted surfaces which small children could potentially put their mouths on or chew on such as window sills, doors, stairs, porches and the like.

Lead dust may also be tracked into the home from outside. This can occur if the paint on the outside is deteriorating lead based paint dropping, creating chips and/or dust which then can contaminate the soil.  Any type of remodeling of these painted areas can create toxic lead dust when the surfaces are disturbed or demolished. 

Water Service Lines and Lead Danger

Another thing to keep in mind in regard to lead is that it may have been used in some water service lines and household plumbing materials. This is also dangerous as lead can enter the water as it flows through the pipes to the house. This problem is most common in plumbing that was installed in 1986. Note that lead paint has also been found in older playground equipment, artificial turf and playground surfaces made from shredded rubber.

Lead Poisoning a Concerns for Children and Adults

lead poisoning childA person may get lead poisoning if they absorbs too much lead into their system. The poisoning can occur by breathing in lead paint dust, fumes from old paint or swallowing a substance with lead in it such as paint, water or dust.

In children, this can cause problems with their growth, hearing as well as behavior and learning issues. The EPA Provides Lead Paint information you should consider, especially if you have children in your home or pregnant women. In adults, lead paint poisoning can cause damage the brain, nervous system, stomach and kidneys. It can also lead to high blood pressure. The symptoms are hard to detect until high levels have been consumed.

Listed below are the main symptoms of lead poisoning for children, adults and newborns, which may include some or a combination of the symptoms.

Lead poisoning symptoms in children may include:

  • Some learning delays or difficulties
  • Irritability
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Sluggishness and fatigue
  • Abdominal pain
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Hearing loss

Lead poisoning symptoms in adults may include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Abdominal pain
  • Constipation
  • Joint pains
  • Muscle pain
  • Declines in mental functioning
  • Pain, numbness or tingling of the extremities
  • Headache
  • Memory loss
  • Mood disorders
  • Reduced sperm count, abnormal sperm
  • Miscarriage or premature birth in pregnant women

Newborns exposed to lead before birth may present these signs:

  • Learning difficulties
  • Slowed growth

Who has the highest chance of getting lead poisoning?

Lead poisoning usually occurs over being exposed to lead over a long period of time. Infants and children are at the highest risk and even higher risk in the following situations:

  • Those who live in or visit homes or buildings built before 1978
  • Buildings built before 1950 when lead based paint was used more frequently
  • Immigrants, refugees or those adopted from other countries may have been exposed to higher lead levels there.

Children 6 years old or younger are at a greater risk because:

  • They often put their hands and small objects in their mouths
  • They have a tendency to swallow non-food items
  • Their bodies absorb lead at a higher rate
  • Their brains are still in developmental stages

Other people who are at high risk may include but are not limited to those who:

  • drink unfiltered water delivered through pipes which were soldered with lead
  • work with lead either in their job or as a hobby (for example pottery makers, and stained glass artists)
  • in foreign countries, eat food from cans made with lead solder (these cans aren’t made in the United States)
  • cook or store food in ceramic containers which have not been properly cured and may contain lead
  • eat or breathe traditional or folk remedies that contain lead, such as some herbs and vitamins from other countries
  • live in communities with a lot of industrial pollution

How To Test & Find Out if Paint is Lead Based?

lead paint test kit leadcheck There’s absolutely no way to know if your home has lead based applied paint unless it is tested, otherwise it is a complete guessing game which could be endangering your and your family’s health.

The best and only truest way to ensure your home is not contaminated with lead paint, is to to get a tester. If you decide to test your paint, make sure to use EPA approved Lead Test Kits such as the “3M LeadCheck“.  These are readily available through home improvement stores like the Home Depot LeadCheck test tool. This testing is of great importance for the safety of you and your family.

How do I remove the lead based paint from my home?

epa lead safe certified firm logoRemoving lead paint is a very hazardous job which requires a lot of planning and preparation as well as the use of the right tools. Lead paint removal can be very dangerous. Here is some DIY Lead Paint information for your reference, we also recommend hiring a certified EPA Lead Based Paint contractor who knows how to handle the situation and get more information on lead based paint guidelines.

The information below is partial information list so please be certain to view the EPA full list of requirements found at the website links within this post.

To help ensure your work methods will create the least amount of dust possible, follow these guidelines:

  1. Wet the surface then hand sand it
  2. Use a chemical stripper which does not contain methylene chloride
  3. Use heat guns not to exceed 700° F
  4. Use a HEPA vacuum which can be safely used where there is lead dust


Follow simple safety procedures as you work such as using:

  1. epa lead based paint interior safety containment chartthe proper tools
  2. protective clothing (such as safety glasses, disposable gloves, hats, shoe covers and protective clothes)
  3. 6 mil plastic drop cloths.
  4. duct tape
  5. two mops and buckets
  6. an all purpose cleaner or cleaner made just for lead clean-up
  7. spray bottles
  8. disposable rags or paper towels
  9. heavy duty plastic bags
  10. HEPA vacuum.

Make sure you implement proper cleanup procedures at the end of each day by:

  1. epa lead based paint interior safety interior containment coverage chart placing all dust and chips in double garbage bags, tying them up and properly disposing of them.
  2. Rolling or folding plastic drop cloths inward to help keep the dust from flying around and discarding them in double garbage bags.
  3. Using two buckets for cleaning, one with detergent and the other with clean rinsing water.
  4. Making sure to wash floors, walls, etc. with an all-purpose cleaner then rinsing well. Change rinse water often and either use disposable rags or paper towels.
  5. Disposing of all towels and other rags in plastic bags and do not reuse them.
  6. Never burning any of the clean up materials.

Properly decontaminate yourself and others after working with the dust by:

  1. epa lead based paint interior door safety containment chart texasChanging contaminated work clothes such as gloves and shoes before leaving the work site.
  2. Putting all contaminated work clothes in a plastic bag while you still have your dust mask on.
  3. Removing Dust Mask carefully and washing hands and face immediately after leaving work area.
  4. Not coming into physical contact with others until showered.
  5. Showering and washing your hair as soon as possible after work/cleanup is completed.
  6. Washing work clothes separate from other laundry (many choose to properly dispose of work clothes used in these conditions rather than taking them into their homes to wash them potentially bringing the dust into the home).

IMPORTANT: As a general rule with lead paint removal:

  1. epa lead based paint exterior safety containment chartDo NOT dry scrape.
  2. Do NOT sandblast.
  3. Do NOT use an open flame or torch to burn paint.
  4. NEVER power sand.
  5. Do NOT  use methylene chloride.
  6. Do NOT use heat guns which operate over 700°F.
  7. Do NOT use a non-approved non certified EPA Lead Paint removal contractor.
  8. Do NOT ask someone else to do the work (such as a friend who doesn’t know proper methods)
  9. Do NOT try to DIY without using the proper precautions.
  10. Read ALL of the safety precautions and links in this informative website page post.

What Are The Added Costs To A Siding or Window Job With Lead Based Paint?

lead based paint removal siding job houston texasThis is a question we commonly get from homeowners in the Houston Texas metro area who live in homes built before 1978. First, I would like to ask this question of homeowners, “what is your family, friends or neighbors good health worth”?  This may sound like a silly question but it is important for one to consider the facts and be informed about the importance of lead paint safety.

To answer this question, first of all, a lead test will help determine if you will need to follow the procedures. Please keep in mind the additional time and preparation the siding and/or window crews must do to ensure the work site is set-up properly for the removal. Also, their is proper training necessary for EPA certification to be prepared to deal with these types of situations. Additional time and supplies are involved and add to the cost and most homeowners can expect to pay between 20-50% more (depending on the job and the difficulty) to installations with lead based paint removal involved to ensure EPA compliance. As you can tell from the information provided, this is quite the task to prepare for the removal from getting the crews all suited up, the house draped and/or taped off. If the lead paint is inside, interior precautions are even more complex.

Properly Protecting Lead Paint Removal Crews

crew EPA Lead Based Paint suitsWe recommend siding and windows crews be required to follow the procedure below, we encourage our crews to abide by these guidelines even during our hot Houston Texas summer heat we highly suggest:

  • Disposable painter’s hats
  • Disposable coveralls
  • To cover tears with duct tape
  • To wear a disposable N-100, R-100 or P-100 respirator.
  • To dispose of ALL the above in a plastic bag
  • To wash face & hands at the end of each shift
  • To blow their noses thoroughly
  • To take a full body & hair shower when arriving home

How to protect you and your family

EPA Lead Paint Renovate Right Information

Click View/Download EPA Lead Paint Renovate Right Information

If you are in the process of purchasing or renting a home built before 1978, make sure you inspect it for chipped paint on surface areas that might rub together such as windows and doors. These surfaces particularly will create a dust that may be harmful to your family and if you have concerns, request a lead paint test to determine if there is lead in the paint on the exterior and/or interior of your home. You have a right to know about the home you will be living in, thanks to the EPA Lead Paint real estate disclosure

Federal law requires that before you buy a home built before 1978, the seller must furnish the buyer with the following information, according to HUD concerning Lead Based Paint, en espanol: Proteja a Su Familia Contra el Plomo en el Hogar). Below is additional helpful information to consider:

  • Review the EPA- Lead Paint information pamphlet about how to identify and control lead-based paint hazards
  • Specifically ask or research to find out if there is any known information about the presence of lead-based paint or lead-based paint hazards in the home or building.
  • Add an attachment to the contract, or language inserted in the contract, which includes a “Lead Warning Statement” and confirms that the seller has complied with all notification requirements.
  • The seller must give the buyer a 10-day period in which they can conduct a paint inspection or risk assessment for lead-based paint or lead-based paint hazards.
  • For multi-unit buildings this requirement includes records and reports concerning common areas and other units when such information was obtained as a result of a building-wide evaluation.

If you are hiring a Lead Based Paint Renovator contractor, you should be provided with this EPA Right To Renovate Pamphlet for your information and review. Texas Home Exteriors is an EPA Certified firm. Thank you for reading our post, from the Team here at THE! Please ask any questions and make comments below!


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10 Responses to Lead Based Paint

  1. Michelle McDaniel says:

    Hey this is good information you guys as me and my wife have been talking about this for some time but definitely going to give you a call here soon so thanks so much!

    • Greg Kapitan says:


      Thank you for your comment. You we here at Texas Home Exteriors believe that it is important for homeowners to know about lead based paint. We have learned much in the last few weeks about this paint.

  2. Ann says:

    Thank you so much for all of this information. Really gives us a lot to think about before we begin our remodeling project.

    • Greg Kapitan says:


      Yes, most homeowners have no idea. We are glad to educate them on the safety precautions that needed to be taken for led based paint.

  3. David lamb says:

    I was on a job for an older couple to repair thee roof. The lady said you don’t happen to paint do you I said yes and she said they had had a couple people come out and look but never followed through. I told them if I had time I could help them. About a month later they called me so I went there told them I could paint what they needed he wanted the paint scrapped and painted I did the job for $3000. They did not tell me that the house had anapesto tiles no lead base paint I did 2 window repair and painted a 2 story house large garage, pump house and shed i pressure washed the first day then me and 2 of my buddies and my fiancé hand scraped everything not completely just the chunks that were peeling so for three days I was in hailing lead-based dust I was eating drinking smoking in the area I had no safety equipment I was helping a couple people out I was just helping a couple people out I’m not a painter and not anything l I was just helping a couple people out I’m not a painter I know how to paint I did not learn until I was done scraping that it was lead based paint not sure what I should do maybe contact her attorney or something. I’m have a bunch of symptoms of lead poisoning so I’m getting ready to head to hospital

    • David,

      If I was in your situation I would go to the hospital or your doctor’s office ASAP! Tell them everything that you have experienced with working in the lead based paint environment that you did work in. We hope that all turns out good for you!

  4. Tiffany Locke says:

    I’m glad that you mention how getting a tester is the only way to ensure your home isn’t contaminated with lead paint. I also like that you mention how removing it can be dangerous so it’s important to hire a professional. In order to find a professional, you’d probably want to research the different options online so that you can find a local company that specializes in lead paint abatement in order to ensure they use the right methods and products.



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