Lead paint hazard information and prevention tips for your family and home
- Visit your primary care provider to request a free blood lead test if you think your home has lead paint hazards. Your doctor can explain test results and next best steps.
- If you are a tenant, notify your landlord or property manager of peeling or chipping paint in your home, and refer them to this website for information on free lead paint remediation services, if eligible.
- If you think your home has lead paint:
- Regularly clean floors, window sills, and other surfaces with a wet cloth to prevent pushing dust into the air
- Wash children’s hands, bottles, pacifiers, and toys often
- Remove shoes or wipe soil off shoes before entering your home
- Make sure children eat healthy, low-fat foods high in iron, calcium, and vitamin C
- Before buying, renting, or renovating your home, have it checked for lead paint hazards
- Always keep painted surfaces in good condition to minimize deterioration
- Don’t try to remove lead paint hazards yourself
- Check the Lead Free Homes LA eligibility and service area map to see if you are currently eligible for a free home assessment for lead paint hazards. If you don't quality for free assessment and services with Lead Free Homes LA, find a certified inspector or risk assessor at epa.gov/lead
- Talk to your landlord about fixing surfaces with peeling or chipping paint
- Take precautions to avoid exposure to lead dust when remodeling, such as wearing a respirator
- If your home is in need of repair due to lead paint hazards, check your eligibility with Lead Free Homes LA. For those who do not qualify for our free services, always hire EPA or State approved Lead Safe certified contractors for renovations, repairs, and painting
Frequently Asked Questions
What is lead poisoning?
Lead poisoning happens when too much lead gets into the body through skin contact, breathing in lead dust, swallowing lead dust that has settled on or around food, or eating paint chips. Lead paint is the leading cause of lead poisoning in the United States and was not banned in homes until 1978. Lead paint dust, chips, and even soil around homes that were painted with lead paint can all cause lead poisoning, as can furniture and toys that contain lead or lead paint.
Who can get lead poisoning?
Lead is toxic to everyone. However, children, unborn babies, and pregnant women are at the greatest risk for health problems from lead-based hazards.
Why is lead harmful?
Lead affects the body in many different ways with varying levels of severity, even with low levels of exposure. While low-level lead exposure is most common, exposure to high amounts or prolonged exposure can have devastating effects for children, including seizures and unconsciousness. Lead exposure can even be fatal.
Adverse effects of lead exposure for children: developmental delay, learning difficulties, irritability, fatigue, seizure, hearing loss, loss of appetite, weight loss, vomiting, nervous system, kidney damage, speech problems, and constipation.
Lead exposure is dangerous for adults, too, especially pregnant women. Women with high levels of lead in their systems before or during pregnancy risk exposing the fetus, which can lead to miscarriages or stillbirth. Other adverse effects include premature birth, lower birth weight, slower growth rates, and increased high blood pressure during pregnancy.
Adverse effects of lead exposure for adults: high blood pressure, joint and muscle pain, difficulties with memory or concentration, headache, abdominal pain, mood disorders, digestive problems, nerve disorders, and fertility problems
Signs and symptoms of lead poisoning?
Symptoms include loss of appetite, headaches, behavioral problems, trouble concentrating, weight loss, nausea, vomiting, constipation, fatigue, muscle and joint weakness.
How is lead poisoning diagnosed?
A doctor or medical professional can test you and your family members for lead poisoning through a blood test to check for elevated levels of lead in your body.
If you suspect that you or your child might have lead poisoning, it is important to visit your doctor’s office to get tested for lead. You can ask for a blood lead test at your next appointment.
If you do not have insurance, view a list of clinics that offer free blood lead testing and may be able to assist you.
How is lead poisoning treated?
Treatment for lead poisoning depends on the amount of lead found in the blood. The most important part of treatment is preventing additional exposure. For this reason, the Lead Free Homes LA program is FREE to help keep LA County residents safe.
Your medical care provider will recommend treatment based on your blood lead levels.
How do you know if there is lead paint hazards in your home?
If your home or apartment was built before 1978, there could still be lead paint hazards in your home. Lead Free Homes LA currently serves homes built before 1951 because of higher concentrations of lead paints manufactured before that time.
If you’re eligible for participation in Lead Free Homes LA., one of our certified lead testing contractors will set up an appointment to visit your home and assess it for lead. Click here to see if you’re eligible.
What does dangerous lead paint look like?
Some indicators that lead paint could be hazardous: Deteriorating paint (peeling, chipping, chalking, cracking, or damaged paint) needs immediate attention. It may also be a hazard on surfaces that children chew or that get a lot of wear and tear, like windows and window sills, doors and door frames, stairs, railings, banisters, and porches.
Dust can form when lead paint is scraped, sanded, or heated. Lead paint chips and dust can get on surfaces and objects that people touch and reenter the air when the home is vacuumed or swept, or when people walk through it.
How is lead paint removed from a home?
If our Lead-Safe Certified team identifies lead paint hazards in your home, they will use EPA-approved methods to safely remove lead paint hazards, such as work place containment to prevent potential lead dust from leaving the work area and the use of wet-dry sandpaper or misters to keep dust down.
How can you ensure your home is free from lead paint hazards?
If your residence is located in an area served by Lead Free Homes LA, check if your home meets program eligibility and if we are currently working in your area.
Have your children tested for lead poisoning. If the test shows there is lead poisoning, you can bypass the application process and call us at 626.296.6302 to schedule a lead assessment test immediately.
Lead poisoning isn’t a problem anymore because paint with lead is banned in the
Lead paint is no longer being used on new construction, but is still abundant, invisible, and dangerous for homeowners or landlords to remove themselves in older homes. It was widely used extensively for many years.
Only people who eat paint chips get lead poisoning.
Eating paint chips is not the only way to get lead poisoning. The most common source of lead poisoning is by ingesting tiny particles of lead in dust. It can stick to almost any household surface or object in the home, and is hard to remove, and impossible to see.
Lead must not be harmful, because I look and feel fine.
Lead is toxic to everyone. However, unborn babies and young children are at a higher risk because their brains are still developing -- so extra precautions should be taken to ensure that they are not exposed to lead.
I can repaint over old paint and it will solve my problem.
As long as there is no chipping, peeling, or flaking paint, your home is safe from paint hazards. However, painting over lead paint is not enough to prevent exposure. The only way to determine if lead paint poses harm to the people in your home is through testing and removal, if necessary.
All lead paint tests are reliable and provide definitive answers
Not all lead paint tests provide reliable results or information. Some DIY (Do It Yourself) lead assessment kits provide inaccurate results or false negatives. The only way to know for sure is to have a test done by a licensed professional.
Lead poisoning causes cancer or asthma.
There are many adverse effects to lead poisoning, but not cancer and asthma. Lead poisoning can cause irreversible damage to the brain, and other parts of your body.
Only kids with very high levels of lead in their blood are harmed.
There is no safe blood lead level, even low levels of lead in a child’s blood may have long-term effects on learning and behavioral development. Higher or prolonged exposure may have more severe effects, but any lead exposure is dangerous.
If I file a complaint with the county, my landlord can threaten to evict me.
There are laws in place that protect tenants like you from evictions and/or retaliatory actions based on your participation in Lead Free Homes LA.
After the County repairs my residence, my Landlord can evict me.
Again, there are laws that protect tenants’ rights.
After the County repairs my apartment or home, the property taxes will increase,
causing my mortgage/rent to also increase
Your participation in the program will not affect your property taxes.
If I am not a U.S. Citizen or legal resident, can I be deported by signing up for
We will never ask any questions related to your immigration or citizenship status, nor will we share any of your information with immigration or citizenship agencies. The sole purpose of Lead Free Homes LA is to protect the County from the hazards of lead paint exposure.
Will my property be reported to the local building official if a non-permitted
structure/addition or code violation is discovered?
The intent of our program is to remove any lead paint hazards from your home. However, such conditions may prohibit us from performing any new work that requires a building permit (i.e new windows, roof, etc.). We will work with you to make any changes to remediation services if possible.