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Lead Inspection

What Is lead?

Lead is a poisonous metal that was once commonly used in the manufacture of paint, gasoline, and plumbing. While U.S. law has banned the use of lead in new construction, existing lead-based paint and plumbing in homes may present a significant health hazard, especially for children.

Where can lead be found?

  • Homes, apartments, and other buildings built before 1978 may contain lead or lead dust. The primary sources of lead include:
  • 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.
  • 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.

Is lead dangerous?

  • Lead can affect almost every organ and system in your body. Children six years old and younger are most susceptible to the effects of lead. Lead can also effect adults. Lead can be absorbed through breathing or through the skin.
    According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), lead can cause these health effects:

Children:

  • brain and nervous system damage
  • behavioral problems
  • learning problems
  • slowed growth
  • hearing problems
  • headaches

Adults:

  • reproductive problems in men and women
  • pregnancy difficulties
  • high blood pressure
  • digestive problems
  • nerve disorders
  • memory and concentration problems
  • muscle and joint pain

What should I know if I’m buying a home built prior to 1975?

The seller must disclose the potential for lead-based paint in the home. The seller is not required to have the home tested for lead.
The seller should provide you with a lead test report if this test has been performed on the house in the past. Your real estate agent should also give you a pamphlet that explains the danger of lead-based paint.
It’s important to understand that the law requiring disclosure of lead-based paint does not apply to foreclosures. So, if you’re buying a bank-owned home built before 1978, you may not automatically receive lead disclosure information.

How do I determine if lead is in my potential purchase?

  • You’ll need to have the home tested. There are two types of inspections.
  • Lead-based paint inspection – This test inspects all interior and exterior painted surfaces. The inspection report lists each surface and indicates if the surface contains lead-based paint.
  • Water – This test checks for lead in tap water. This is not a standard test. You’ll need to specifically request it if you want it.

What should I know if I’m buying a home built prior to 1975?

The seller must disclose the potential for lead-based paint in the home. The seller is not required to have the home tested for lead.
The seller should provide you with a lead test report if this test has been performed on the house in the past. Your real estate agent should also give you a pamphlet that explains the danger of lead-based paint.

It’s important to understand that the law requiring disclosure of lead-based paint does not apply to foreclosures. So, if you’re buying a bank-owned home built before 1978, you may not automatically receive lead disclosure information.

How do I determine if lead is in my potential purchase?

You’ll need to have the home tested. There are two types of inspections.

  1. Lead-based paint inspection – This test inspects interior and exterior painted surfaces. The inspection report lists each surface and indicates if the surface contains lead-based paint.
  2. Water – This test checks for lead in tap water. This is not a standard test. You’ll need to specifically request it if you want it.