What’s the Deal with Lead-Based Paint?

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If you’ve recently put your house on the market or made an offer on one, you’ve probably been asked to sign a Lead Based Paint Disclosure.. Hopefully your Real Estate Agent gave you an explanation before you signed. If they didn’t, drop them and call one of us! There are normally 2 mandatory disclosures that need your John Hancock when buying or selling a home; A Seller’s Disclosure and a Lead Based Paint Disclosure. I’ll explain the latter now.

Lead-Based Paint is exactly what it sounds like: Paint with Lead in it. Lead was added to paint to speed up drying, increase durability, maintain a fresh appearance and block out moisture that leads to corrosion. That’s fine and dandy, except Lead paint is hazardous! It can cause nervous system damage, stunted growth, kidney damage and delayed development, and the risks are higher for children. Unfortunately, lead makes paint taste sweet, which makes every kid want to eat it. The good news about lead-based paint is that it is usually not a hazard IF IT’S IN GOOD CONDITION and if it’s not on an impact or friction surface, like a window. The United State didn’t ban lead-based paint until 1977, so if your home was built before that chances are you’ve got lead-based paint in your home. An estimated 37 million homes in American have lead-based paint.

If you’re buying or selling a home and it was built before 1978, you’ll need to sign a Lead-Based Paint Disclosure. This form states that you’re either aware or unaware that your home has lead-based paint. If you do have knowledge of it, you’ll need to give an explanation as to where it is. If you’re not aware of any in your home, simply check that box and sign. There is an EPA Issued Pamphlet you can view to better understand what to do if you do have lead-based paint in your home and you want to get rid of it. Furthermore, if the home you’re buying or selling was built AFTER 1978, then there’s no need for the Disclosure and all the paint should be lead-free!

There are state and federal programs in place to ensure that testing is done safely, reliably, and effectively. Contact your state or local agency for more information, visit EPA.gov/lead, or call 1-800-424-LEAD (5323) for a list of contacts in your area.