Safety Talks – Lead Paint
lead paint hazard

Facts about Lead-Based Paint:  

  • Exposure to lead paint is a significant source of lead poisoning in children. It can also affect adults.  
  • Buildings constructed or renovated prior to 1978 may contain lead-based paint.
  • Regulations differ for commercial and residential structures.  
  • OSHA Lead in Construction Standard governs contractors and their workers who may be exposed to lead-based paint during construction or renovation projects.   
  • EPA Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule governs ALL residential buildings and child occupied facilities built prior to 1978. 

Lead Paint Identification:  

  • Home test kits are available, but are unreliable.  
  • Testing of commercial buildings can be done by a qualified professional who does screening and sends samples to a lab for testing.  
  • Residential testing in any state should be done by a licensed lead inspector. Some states will require this to be completed by a licensed inspector.

Preventing Exposure:  

  • Lead paint hazards must addressed where children under 6 reside or in child occupied facilities.  
  • Lead paint can be covered (e.g., drywall, vinyl or aluminum sills).  
  • Lead-based paint in poor condition should be properly abated. 


  • Low to moderate risk deleading can be done by anyone. 
  • This involves obtaining the proper training (for moderate risk this includes an exam) and only allows MINOR projects such as removing windows, putting on aluminum sills, repairing small amounts of lead paint). 
  • High risk deleading or deleading to obtain certificate of compliance MUST be performed by a licensed contractor.  
  • Surface beneath the area to be deleaded must be covered with a layer of fireproof 6-mil poly sheeting.  
  • Areas where lead dust may migrate (windows, HVAC components, vents) must be covered.  
  • Contractors wear appropriate PPE (respirators and protective clothing on hands and body) and apply engineering controls. 
  • Lead is then removed by wet scraping (manual tools with water misting of working surface).  
  • Wet or dry sanding or dry scraping can only be done if tools are equipped with a HEPA vacuum attachment.  
  • Lead-based paint chips/debris and PPE MUST be containerized for disposal.  
  • Residential properties with children under 6 require a follow up inspection by a licensed lead inspector.