- The federal government banned lead-based paint from housing in 1978, but many homes and apartments built before 1978 still contain lead-based paint.
- Lead-based paint can be found inside and outside of single family homes, apartments, and both public and private housing built before 1978. It can also be found in homes that are in the city, country, or suburbs.
- Dust from lead-based paint is the most common source of lead poisoning for children in the U.S.
- Home renovation and repair activities that disturb lead-based paint can put children at great risk for exposure to hazardous lead dust if not done properly.
Ways to Prevent Lead-Based Paint Exposure:
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- Determine the construction year the house or the dwelling where your child spends a large amount of time (e.g., grandparents or daycare). In housing built before 1978, assume that the paint has lead unless tests show otherwise.
- Consider testing your home for lead-based pain and dust by an EPA certified lead risk assessor or inspector. A list of EPA certified lead risk assessors and inspectors in Florida can be found on the EPA Region 4 Lead Website.
- Make sure your child does not have access to chipping, peeling, or chalking paint or chewable surfaces painted with lead-based paint. Wet-mop floors and wet-wipe window components regularly. Because household dust is a major source of lead, parents should wet-mop floors and wet-wipe flat surfaces with a disposable cloth or paper towel every 2-3 weeks. Windowsills and wells can contain high levels of leaded dust. They should be kept clean. If possible, windows should be shut to prevent abrasion of painted surfaces or opened from the top sash.
- Create barriers between living/play areas and lead sources. Parents should clean and isolate all sources of lead. They should close and lock doors to keep children away from chipping or peeling paint on walls. You can also apply temporary barriers such as contact paper or duct tape, to cover holes in walls or to block children's access to other sources of lead, such as a window sill.
- For more ways to protect your children, view the EPA's flyer Childproof Your Home
- Children and pregnant women should not be present during renovations in housing built before 1978. They should not participate in activities that disturb old paint or in cleaning up paint debris after work is completed.
- If you are considering renovation or repair work on your pre-1978 home, see the EPA's flyer Lead-Safe Guide to Renovate Right. En Español
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- Children playing in yards can ingest or inhale lead dust from contaminated soil.
- Soil can pick up lead from exterior paint.
- Soil may be contaminated with lead from the past use of leaded gas in cars.
Ways to Prevent Lead Exposure from Soil:
- Regularly wash children's hands and toys. Hands and toys can become contaminated from household dust or exterior soil. Both are known lead sources.
- Prevent children from playing in bare soil. Parents should plant grass on areas of bare soil or cover the soil with grass seed, mulch, or wood chips, if possible. Until the bare soil is covered, parents should move play areas away from bare soil and away from the sides of the house. If using a sandbox, parents should also cover the box when not in use to prevent cats from using it as a litter box. That will help protect children from exposure to animal waste.
- Remove your shoes at the door. Shoes can track in dust and dirt from outside that may be contaminated with lead.
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- Plumbing may have lead or lead solder which can contaminate your water.
- You cannot see, smell, or taste lead. Boiling your water will not get rid of lead.
- Call your local health department or water supplier to find out about testing your water.
Ways to reduce lead exposure from drinking water:
- Use only cold water from the tap for drinking, cooking, and for making baby formula. Hot water is more likely to contain higher levels of lead. Most of the lead in household water usually comes from the plumbing in your house, not from the local water supply.
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Jobs and Hobbies
- Work and hobbies sites where lead is used have lead dust. Individuals can bring it home on their hands or clothes.
- Hobbies that use lead include making pottery, stained glass, jewelry making, refinishing furniture, home repair and many others.
- Jobs that involve lead include battery recycling or manufacturing, smelting or welding, heating/air conditioning or ventilation maintenance, auto/radiator repair, and bridge painting.
Ways to reduce lead exposure from jobs and hobbies:
- Avoid taking lead dust home from work or hobby sites. Household members who come in contact with lead through work or a hobby should change clothes and shower after finishing a task that involves lead-based products. Examples include, home renovation and repair, stain glass work, bullet or fishing sinker making, or using a firing range. Launder work clothes separately from the rest of your family's clothes
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- Some painted toys and old furniture contain lead.
- Traditional home remedies, imported candies, and some cookware may also contain lead.
Ways to reduce lead exposure from Consumer Products:
- Avoid eating candies imported from Mexico
- Avoid using containers, cookware, or tableware to store or cook foods or liquids that are not shown to be lead free.
- Remove recalled toys and toy jewelry immediately from children.
- Check Lead Recalls lists.
- If you are concerned that a product you own may contain lead you can also have it tested.
- Laboratory testing is the most accurate method for determining if a product has lead. Use the internet or phone book to find a laboratory in your area.
- In home testing kits are also available at local hardware stores. Be aware that these kits only test the surface for lead and are not considered the most reliable method for determining the presence or absence of lead in a product.
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Where can I find more information?
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Need additional information?
Florida defers to federal EPA rules regarding lead-based paint practices and certification requirements. If you have additional lead questions please go to http://www2.epa.gov/lead or call the National Lead Information Center at 1 (800) 424-LEAD (5323).
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