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Lead Paint

What are the dangers of lead paint in homes, and when was it used?

Lead paint in homes causes almost all childhood lead poisoning. Lead is so harmful that even a small amount of fine lead dust that cannot be seen can poison a child. Lead paint covered by layers of nonleaded paint can still poison children, especially when it is disturbed, such as through normal wear and tear, or home repair work. When such lead paint is on moving surfaces, such as windows, fine lead dust is released through normal use. This dust settles, where it can be easily picked up on children's toys and fingers. Household paint with poisonous (now illegal) levels of lead was in use in Massachusetts from the 1690s until 1978. In 1978, the U.S. government banned lead from house paint. Lead can be found in all types of pre-1978 homes: homes in cities, suburbs or the countryside; private housing and state or federal public housing; single-family and multi-family homes. The older the house, the more likely it is to contain lead paint. The older the paint, the higher the likely lead content.

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