Buying a Lead Safe Home

Finding lead-safe housing

There is no common definition of “lead-safe,” but what it doesn’t mean is “lead-free.” If lead-paint has been maintained properly and is in excellent, intact condition, it does not present a hazard. Some owners can show records that their properties have passed lead-tests after projects to remove or control lead-hazards. Some houses have had inspections that show no current lead-hazards.

If you are pregnant and/or have young children, find out the age of the home and note the condition of areas such as windows, doorways and porches. If in doubt about whether the home is lead-safe, request a lead inspection or risk assessment from a state licensed lead professional during the 10-day period allowed by the federal Disclosure Law prior to purchasing a home (see Lead-Disclosure and Lead Inspections below.)

High-risk zip-codes

The Ohio Department of Health publishes a list of high-risk zip-codes in Ohio. These areas are usually areas with high-concentrations of homes built before 1978. You should not avoid these neighborhoods, but you should be aware of the presence of lead-based-paint in the homes and soil. Children living in these zip-codes must receive lead-tests at particular ages.

Lead Disclosure

In order protect children from the dangers of lead in paint, dust, and soil, Congress passed the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act in 1992. Since 1996, sellers of homes built before 1978 must disclose (reveal) any information they have about lead in the property to buyers at the time they sign a purchase contract. For more information, see Disclosure (Josepha link to disclosure) in Laws and Regulations.

Home Inspections

In Ohio, home inspectors are not licensed, but there are trade associations that maintain records of inspectors’ credentials and establish industry standards. You can see a set of standards for home inspection and ethics for home inspection professionals at the American Society of Home inspectors.

Lead Inspections

Lead inspections are different from home inspections. In Ohio, they are conducted by lead-inspectors or risk-assessors who are licensed by the Ohio Department of Health Lead Poisoning Prevention Program. The license means they have been trained and passed an exam in inspections and/or risk assessments. You can find Ohio licensed lead-inspectors and risk-assessors by searching the Ohio Department of Health’s database. For more information on lead inspections and risk assessments, see Protecting Your Family from Lead.

Renovation

Renovations that do not meet lead-safe standards can create lead-hazards in your home. Read the EPA’s booklet, The Lead-Safe Certified Guide to Renovate Right, to learn about lead-safe work practices and EPA’s Renovation, Repair, and Painting (RRP) requirements for contractors.

If you are pregnant, do not perform renovation or repair jobs or participate in cleaning up after them. Be sure that whomever does the renovation and cleaning, whether a professional or a do-it-yourselfer, employs lead-safe work practices.

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