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What is Lead-Based Paint and What is a Lead Hazard?

Lead-based paint - The Federal definition is at least 1 milligram per square centimeter of lead on a surface or at least 0.5 percent by weight.

A lead-based paint hazard is a condition that causes exposure to lead sufficient to cause adverse human health effects. Lead hazards include:

  • Deteriorated lead-based paint. As paint ages or is damaged, it deteriorates and may create hazardous conditions including lead-based paint chips, and lead-contaminated dust and soil.
  • Friction, impact and chewable surfaces. Certain surfaces are subject to damage and, therefore, likely to generate lead-contaminated dust, soil, and paint chips. These include
    • surfaces subject to friction or abrasion such as stair tread and window sashes,
    • surfaces subject to repeated impacts such as door frames, and
    • surfaces that are available to children to mouth or chew such as window sills and door frames.
  • Lead-contaminated dust. Lead-contaminated dust is dust with lead concentrations that exceed Federal standards. Lead-contaminated dust can come from lead-based paint that is deteriorated, disturbed, or subject to friction. It can also come from lead-contaminated soil. It is not always visible to the naked eye and it is difficult to clean up.
  • Lead-contaminated bare soil. Lead-contaminated soil is bare soil around a residence that has lead concentrations exceeding Federal standards. Deteriorating exterior paint that contains lead and past emissions of lead gasoline are the primary sources of lead in soil. Lead-contaminated soil can be tracked into a home by people or pets and become dust that is ingested.