Renovating a Home? Legal Considerations for Lead Safety

Renovating a home can be a fun project to undertake. Many individuals handle minor renovations or pre-renovation themselves, but there’s undoubtedly a necessity to bring in professionals for certain tasks. Regardless of how a renovation is handled, however, it’s essential to follow all of an area’s local laws. This includes properly handling lead-based paint hazards, and if certain individuals don’t do this correctly, they could face serious legal issues.

The Dangers of Lead-Based Paint

The dangers of lead-based paint are numerous, and home renovations can greatly increase a person’s chances of being exposed to the toxin. Lead paint exposure can lead to nervous system damage, damage to the kidneys, delayed development and stunted growth. Home renovations that cause lead paint chips or dust to be dispersed in the home can easily lead to these serious consequences.

Even in instances where paint chips aren’t visible, the paint dust often created by renovating a home can settle on all of the home’s surfaces. Unfortunately, lead has a sweet taste, and this often leads children to put lead-powdered toys into their mouths. Sadly, this can be detrimental for a child on several fronts.

Lead-Based Paint Legalities

The legal issues related to lead-based paint most often target the owners of homes and professional renovators. People who are selling a home, whether a real estate agent or owner, and landlords who are renting one out are required by law to alert tenants and potential buyers of any known lead paint presence.

Additionally, companies who provide painting, renovation or repair services on homes with lead-based paint must be certified by the Environmental Protection Service (EPA). These companies must undergo intense training before becoming certified. Since the potential for damaging health effects is so great when dealing with lead-based paint, the government sees this certification as essential to protecting the public health.

Handling of Lead-Based Paint

Dealing with this paint is actually something that is better left to the professionals. Any home or building that was constructed before 1978 can potentially contain lead. While a homeowner is free to do just about any work that they want on their home, there are certain methods of paint removal, such as torching, dry sanding or dry scraping, which can create large amounts of lead paint chips and dust.

Some homeowners feel as if they can just wear a dust mask and then vacuum the dangerous particles away, but this simply isn’t the case. Dust masks are insufficient to stop lead dust particles, and it’s actually recommended that a fitted respirator equipped with special lead filters be used. Additionally, normal vacuums will simply just blow lead dust back into the air. This is why it’s so essential to opt for a certified lead-based paint remover.

There are many products that Americans used in the past that have been revealed to have serious health issues, and lead is one of the most dangerous. The detrimental effect that this substance can have on a person’s body has led to statutes outlawing its use, and unfortunately, these negative side effects can be even more pronounced in children. This is one of those instances, in America, where a law was actually passed with the explicit purpose of helping to protect people.

The author is a former real estate investor, and highly recommends using properly certified home renovators such as, who deal with all aspects of home improvement and sales; keeping them abreast of any legalities involved when passing property from one person to another.

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