Dust from lead-based paint is the major source of lead poisoning among children. In 1978, lead was banned from house paint by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. About 70% of Vermont homes were built before 1978 and likely contain lead-based paint. Over time, lead-based paint on surfaces crumbles into invisible dust, especially from opening and closing doors and windows. Even if the home has been repainted since 1978, the opening and closing of doors and windows can release lead dust from the original lead-based paint.
Young children are commonly exposed to lead by swallowing it. Lead dust clings to hands, toys and other objects that children put in their mouth. Children may eat, chew or suck on lead-painted objects such as windowsills, toys or furniture.
Children, pregnant women and adults can be exposed to lead during renovation projects or whenever lead-based paint is improperly sanded, scraped or burned. There are two main ways these activities cause exposure to lead:
Breathing in lead dust
Getting lead dust on your hands and then swallowing it while eating, drinking or smoking
Unsafe work practices that disturb lead-based paint will create lead hazards (see Section 2.2.28). Under Vermont law, if lead hazards are created in any building or structure, you will be responsible for the cleanup that will require you to hire a Vermont-licensed lead abatement contractor.
Do you need financial or technical help? The Vermont Housing & Conservation Board’s Lead-Based Paint Program offers help to homeowners and landlords (based on income) to lower the risk of lead poisoning from lead-based paint hazards. Call 802-828-5064 or 800-290-0527 or email LeadUser@vhcb.org. If you live in Burlington or Winooski, the Burlington Lead Program has similar help available. Call 802-865-LEAD (5323).
Protect yourself and your family during home renovation projects
Find out how the Vermont Lead Law affects you
Learn what to do if your home has lead-based paint
Test your home for lead dust