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Healthy Homes and

Lead Poisoning Prevention

 
 
 
 
 
Frequently Asked Questions
 
 
See below for answers to frequently asked questions.  You may contact the PA Lead Information Line (LIL) at 1-800-440-LEAD (5323) for lead and healthy homes information and materials.
 
 
Q. How do I get my child tested for lead poisoning?
 
A. It is always best to ask your family doctor to test your child.  If you do not have a family doctor, locate a clinic in your local area that will provide testing for free or possibly charge a sliding fee.
 
 
 
Q. How do I know if my home has lead paint?
 
A. Any home built before 1978 could have lead-based paint.  Homes built before 1950 are more likely to have it.  The only way to know for sure is to hire a PA-certified inspector. The Department of Labor and Industry has lists of certified firms, inspectors, and risk assessors.  To access the list of certified firms, click here, then click on Accredited Trainers and Certified Contracting Firms, then on Certified Lead Abatement Contractors.  It will require you to open the page in a separate window.
 
The other list is for inspectors, risk assessors, and other lead paint professionals; phone numbers and addresses are not included.  Under the section “H. Individuals Certified in Lead-Based Paint Occupations” use the “click here” link and again a page will open in a separate window.
 
Both lists are updated daily.  An inspector can tell you exactly where the lead-based paint is in your home, even if it’s under other layers of paint.  A risk assessor can tell you what hazards are posed by the presence of lead paint.
 
PA Certified Firms and Certified Contractors are privately run businesses.  You will be responsible for the costs of the lead paint inspection or risk assessment.
 
 
Q. I am a landlord. How do I know if my rental property has lead paint?
 
A. Any home built before 1978 could have lead-based paint.  Homes built before 1950 are more likely to have it.  The only way to know for sure is to hire a PA-certified inspector. The Department of Labor and Industry has lists of certified firms, inspectors, and risk assessors.  To access the list of certified firms, click here, then click on Accredited Trainers and Certified Contracting Firms, then on Certified Lead Abatement Contractors.  It will require you to open the page in a separate window. 
 
The other list is for inspectors, risk assessors, and other lead paint professionals; phone numbers and addresses are not included.  Under the section “H. Individuals Certified in Lead-Based Paint Occupations” use the “click here” link and again a page will open in a separate window.
 
Both lists are updated daily.  An inspector can tell you exactly where the lead-based paint is in your home, even if it’s under other layers of paint.  A risk assessor can tell you what hazards are posed by the presence of lead paint.
 
PA Certified Firms and Certified Contractors are privately run businesses.  You will be responsible for the costs of the lead paint inspection or risk assessment.
 
 
Q. I am doing some renovation work on a house; are there precautions I need to take?
 
A. Yes.  Never use a heat gun or torch to remove lead-based paint.  While heating the lead makes it much easier to scrape off, the lead enters the air.  If it is breathed in, it can cause poisoning.  Do not do any dry sanding or dry scraping, as the lead dust will then be spread about the area.  It is best to keep everything wet.  Do wet scraping and wet sanding.  Even when removing old carpet, it is best to lightly mist it with water.  Lead causes its greatest risk to children when it is in the air, or when it falls as dust on the floor.  Children breathe it in, or they crawl on the floor and are poisoned when they put their fingers in their mouths.
 
Please see the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Renovate Right booklet for more information.  If you are a contractor, you must become certified to work on properties that may contain lead paint. See the EPA's Small Entity Compliance Guide handbook on the Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule.  For additional guidance, call the Lead Information Line at 1-800-440-LEAD (5323) for information on conducting repairs and renovations safely.
 
 
Q. I am a contractor.  Do I need to be certified and how do I become certified?
 
A. Yes, you must become certified to work on properties that may contain lead paint.  See the EPA's Small Entity Compliance Guide handbook on the Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule.
 
If you are doing lead abatement, or if the intent of the work you are doing is to control or reduce lead hazards, you must be certified by the PA Department of Labor and Industry. The number to call is 717-772-3396.
 
 
Q. Are there any funds available for the removal of lead-based paint from my home?
 
A. Some counties and local communities have housing programs that help residents remove lead hazards from their homes.  Contact your township office, city hall, or county courthouse and ask to speak to the office dealing with housing.  Ask the housing office if they have programs to help you remove lead-based paint from your home.

 
Q. How do I get rid of mold in my home?
 
A. First, remove any moisture source, such as a leaky pipe, a roof leak, or rain water leaching in through basement walls.  The mold will stop growing once it has no water/moisture.  Clean smooth surfaces with soap and water.  Where mold grew within, behind, or under drywall, carpet, or insulation, you must remove and replace these materials.  Mold can grow in cracks and crevices in these materials, and you may not be able to see it.  See the mold fact sheet for more information.
 
Q. Could the radon levels in my house be unsafe?
 
A. Yes.  PA may have the most severe household radon problem in the U.S.  Certain regions of Pennsylvania have some of the highest concentrations of radon in the world.  Being exposed to radon over time causes lung cancer.  Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer, next to smoking. 
 
The only way to know for sure whether your home has high levels of radon is to test for it.  You can test for radon yourself.  Purchase a radon test kit at hardware stores or home centers for about $30.  Follow the instructions step-by-step.  Make sure the test kit includes the lab's testing fee. 
 
Learn more at the PA Department of Environmental Protection's radon webpage or call the Radon Division at 800 237-2366.   


Contact Information
 
Bureau of Family Health  
Division of Child & Adult Health Services 
625 Forster St. 
7th Floor, East Wing 
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17120-0701
(717) 772-2762