Section 8: Lead Safety in Housing
Lead-based paint is paint that contains lead. This lead can be hazardous to human health, especially to young children. Most houses and apartments built before 1978 have paint that contains lead. Before moving into a house or apartment, federal law requires that people buying or renting receive information about the unit if it was built before 1978. If you are planning to move into a home built before 1978, make sure the landlord or seller gives you information pertaining to lead-based paint or any lead hazards before signing a lease or signing a sales contract.
Lead from paint, chips or dust, is very harmful to human health. Even though individuals may seem healthy at the time, the body may contain high levels of lead. Lead can be ingested into the body by putting your hands on objects that are covered in lead dust, eating paint chips or soil with lead, and breathing in lead dust. Children should be especially careful because their bodies are more sensitive to the effects of lead. The EPA states that children can suffer from the following if they are exposed to high levels of lead:
- Damage to the brain and nervous system
- Behavior and learning problems (such as hyperactivity)
- Slowed growth
- Hearing problems
The EPA also states that the effects of lead are harmful to adults. Adults can suffer from:
- Difficulties during pregnancy
- Other reproductive problems (in both men and women)
- High blood pressure
- Digestive problems
- Nerve disorders
- Memory and concentration problems
- Muscle and joint pain
Section 8 and Lead-Based Paint
Requirements will apply to dwelling units built prior to 1978 that are occupied or can be occupied by families with children under six years of age. During initial and annual inspections the inspector must conduct a visual assessment for deteriorated paint surfaces and the owner must stabilize deteriorated surfaces. Applicable areas include painted surfaces within the dwelling unit, exterior painted surfaces associated with the dwelling unit, common areas of the building through which residents must pass to gain access to the unit, and areas frequented by resident children under six years of age, including play areas.
Please contact our Inspection Department for more specific information about requirements for stabilization of deteriorated paint surfaces.