Managing Lead Based Paint

Managing Lead Based Paint Many houses and apartments built before 1978 have paint that contain high levels of lead or lead based paint. The lead based paint can enter into our bodies by breathing or swallowing paint chips or dust that contains elevated levels of lead. These exposures are extremely harmful to children under 6 but can also cause damage in older children and adults. Because of the health risks associated with lead paint the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and New York City have created laws to protect building occupants from lead exposures.

Lead from paint chips and dust can pose serious health hazards if not taken care of properly. Lead can cause severe harm to children under the age of 6 including nervous system and kidney damage, learning disabilities, attention deficit disorders and decreased intelligence, speech language and behavior problems, poor muscle grown and coordination and hearing damage. Lead paint tends to impact children because children’s brains and nervous systems are more sensitive to lead; children’s bodies absorb more lead; and babies and young children often put their hands and toys in their mouths. However, lead paint can also impact adults by causing an increased chance of illness during pregnancy, harm to fetus including damage or death, fertility problems (in men and women), high blood pressure, digestive problems, nerve disorders, memory and concentration problems and muscle and joint pain.

Federal law requires that individuals receive certain information before renting, buying or renovating pre-1978 housing. In general landlords and sellers have to disclose known information on lead-based paint and lead-based paint hazards before the lease or the home sale takes effect. Leases and contracts must include disclosure about lead based paint. If more than 2 square feet of painted surfaces are disturbed during renovations then the contractor must also be informed of the presence of lead based paint and be given the EPA pamphlet discussing lead based paint.

New York City’s Lead Paint Hazardous Reduction Law (also known as Local Law 1) went into effect on August 2, 2004. The law covers all pre-1960 multiple dwellings. As an owner of a property in New York City it is your responsibility to familiarize yourself with Local Law 1 and to comply with its requirements. As part of the law owners must investigate units where children under 6 years of age resides as well as common areas in the property to find peeling paint, chewable surfaces, deteriorated subsurface, and friction and impacted surfaces. This investigation must be conducted at least annually or more often if the owner knows about a condition that may cause a lead hazard or the occupant complains of such conditions. Under Local Law 1 landlords are also responsible for making all apartment lead safe upon apartment turnover.

Lead paint investigations must be performed by a third party EPA certified inspector. The lead paint investigation can be performed by collecting paint chips or with a field portable X-Ray fluorescence (FP-XRF) instrument. The XRF can determine the presence of lead paint in real-time and will therefore offer considerable reductions and cost and time when compared to collecting paint samples. On average the XRF can complete the investigation of an apartment in less than one day.

Lead paint testing can also be used to contest “presumed” lead-based paint violations. This is a violation issued when the city has identified peeling paint in the apartment but has not tested the paint for lead. As part of the contestion an XRF survey can be performed to determine the lack of present of lead paint. Using the results of the survey a contestation form can be submitted to New York City.

Lead paint can cause serious health conditions in both children and adults. Therefore, lead paint should always be managed properly. Contact Hydro Tech today to see how we can help you.  

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Managing Lead Based Paint
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