Sources of Lead at Home:Older Homes and Buildings

Older Homes and Buildings

If your home was built before 1978, there is a good chance it has lead-based paint. In 1978, the federal government banned consumer uses of lead-containing paint, but some states banned it even earlier. Lead from paint, including lead-contaminated dust, is one of the most common causes of lead poisoning.

  • Lead paint is still present in millions of homes, sometimes under layers of newer paint. If the paint is in good shape, the lead paint is usually not a problem. Deteriorating lead-based paint (peeling, chipping, chalking, cracking, damaged, or damp) is a hazard and needs immediate attention.
  • It may also be a hazard when found on surfaces that children can chew or that get a lot of wear-and-tear, such as:
    • Windows and window sills;
    • Doors and door frames; and
    • Stairs, railings, banisters, and porches.
  • Be sure to keep all paint in excellent shape and clean up dust frequently.
  • Lead in household dust results from indoor sources such as deteriorating lead-based paint.
  • Lead dust can also be tracked into the home from soil outside that is contaminated by deteriorated exterior lead-based paint and other lead sources, such as industrial pollution and past use of leaded gasoline.
  • Renovation, repair or painting activities can create toxic lead dust when painted surfaces are disturbed or demolished.
  • Pipes and solder- Lead is used in some water service lines and household plumbing materials. Lead can leach, or enter the water, as water flows through the plumbing. Lead pipes and lead solder were commonly used until 1986.

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