Lead

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How Can I Reduce or Get Rid of the
Lead-Based Paint Hazards in My Home?

In addition to the day-to-day steps outlined in the previous section, you can prevent lead poisoning by using either interim controls, abatement, or both.

You can perform many simple interim controls yourself, but — because performing an abatement can be dangerous — only a certified contractor should perform an abatement. Call your state lead contact or the HUD Lead Listing at (888) LEAD-LIST for a list of certified contractors in your area.

Q. What is the difference between interim controls and abatement?

A. Interim controls temporarily reduce lead hazards. They may solve the problem, at least until the condition of the affected area worsens. If that happens, the hazard needs to be reevaluated. Abatement permanently eliminates the lead hazard.

Routine Cleaning and Maintenance

It is very important to care for the lead-painted surfaces in your home. Lead-based paint in good condition is usually not harmful.

What Causes Lead Dust?

Certain household activities are likely to disturb lead-painted surfaces and contaminate dust, including repeatedly opening and closing windows and bumping furniture or other objects against painted walls. Dust can also become contaminated during many home improvement.

These activities include:

Although the lead-based paint in your home may be in good condition, if it is on a surface that is often rubbed, bumped, or chewed, it can easily peel and flake and can be harmful.

How Do I Prevent Lead Dust?

Follow three important rules when dealing with lead-based paint:

What Are the Best Ways to Clean Dust?

There are ways to clean your home that will help you reduce or prevent your family's exposure to lead dust. Here are some tips on how to clean and how not to clean your home. It's best to follow these steps weekly.

Cleaning Uncarpeted Floors
Do use:
Damp or wet mopping.

Standard sponge or string type mops and an all-purpose cleaner or a cleaner made specifically for lead.

Standard vacuum cleaners if no visible dust or debris from chipping or flaking paint is present.
Don't use:
Mops with a scrubber strip attached.

Powered buffing or polishing machines.

Vacuums with beater bars that may wear away the painted surface.
Cleaning Carpets and Rugs
Do use:
Wet scrubbing methods to remove stains.

Steam cleaning methods.

Standard vacuum cleaners if no visible dust or debris from chipping or flaking paint is present.
Don't use:
Dry sweeping of surface dust and debris.

Shaking or beating of carpets and rugs.
Cleaning Walls
Do use:
Soft cloths to wet wipe walls.

All-purpose cleaner or a cleaner made specifically for lead.
Don't use:
Steel wool, scouring pads, and abrasive cleaners.

Solvent cleaners that may dissolve paint.
Cleaning Other Painted Surfaces
Do use:
Soft cloths.

All-purpose cleaner or a cleaner made specifically for lead.
Don't use:
Abrasive cleaners and scouring pads.

Solvent cleaners that may dissolve the paint.

Excessive rubbing of spots to remove them.
Dusting
Do use:
Disposable, non-abrasive dusting cloths or dusters.

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