Lead Based Paint

For anyone looking to purchase a home built prior to 1978, the home will have to pass a visual inspection for lead-based paint if the City of Waco is providing any assistance.  An inspection will determine if any paint is cracking, chipping, or otherwise deteriorating.  If the home does not pass inspection, a certified contractor will be required to correct the problem.  Assistance will then be provided once a clearance test has been passed.

To learn more about lead-based paint and how it may affect you, please call our office at (254) 750-5656.

What is lead poisoning?

Lead poisoning means having high concentrations of lead in the body.  Lead can:

  • Cause major health problems, especially in young children
  • Damage the brain, nervous system, kidneys, hearing, and coordination.
  • Cause behavioral problems, blindness, even death
  • Cause problems in pregnancy and affect a baby’s development

Who gets lead poisoning?

Anyone can get lead poisoning, but children under 7 are at the greatest risk.  The risk is greater for children who:

  • Live in an older home (built before 1978, and even more so before 1960)
  • Do not eat regular meals
  • Do not get enough iron or calcium in their diet
  • Live with family members who work in lead-related jobs

Where does it come from?

The lead hazards that children most often touch are lead dust, leaded soil, loose chips and chewable surfaces containing lead-based paint.  A child may also put toys, pacifiers, or hands into their mouth which may have come in contact with lead dust or soil.  Lead can be found in:

  • Moving parts of windows and doors that can create airborne lead dust
  • Painted surfaces of windows, doors, wood trim, walls, cabinets, porches, stairs, railing, fire escapes, and lamp posts
  • Soil near building exteriors that have been painted with lead-based paint and near busy streets where leaded gasoline dust may have settled
  • Drinking water
  • The clothing, hair, or skin of those who work around lead and may bring the dust into the home
  • Colored newsprint
  • Car batteries
  • Glazed pottery and cookware from other countries
  • The removal of old finishes from furniture

How do I know if my child is affected?

While early symptoms may be nonspecific and subtle, common known symptoms of lead poisoning include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Stomach pain
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss
  • Constipation
  • Anemia
  • Kidney failure
  • Irritability
  • Tiredness
  • Learning disabilities
  • Behavioral problems
  • Lack of coordination

What can I do about it?

Your child should be first tested for the presence of lead in the blood between six months and one year of age.  You can ask your doctor or clinic to perform this test during a regular checkup.  Even small amounts of lead in the blood can affect your child’s learning abilities even when no other symptoms exist, so it is important to test your child as often as your child’s doctor recommends it.

How do I know if my home has lead-based paint?

A HUD inspection does not determine whether a home actually has lead-based paint.  Therefore, the only way you can know for sure is to have the home tested by a qualified firm or laboratory.  Both the interior and exterior should be tested.  You may contact your local health or environmental office for help.

What do I do if my home does have lead?

Do not attempt to get rid of lead-based paint yourself, as this could further endanger you and your family.  If your home contains lead-based paint, contact a company that specializes in lead-based paint abatement.  Lead abatement can be very costly, however, depending on the amount of lead found in your home, but it is an important step in protecting your family from the effects of lead poisoning.

Other ways you can immediately protect your child from lead exposure include:

  • Keeping them from paint chips and dust
  • Using a wet cloth or mop to clean floors and surfaces, particularly where floors and walls meet
  • Thoroughly cleaning window sills
  • Use only vacuum cleaners with an internal HEPA-rated filter
  • Make sure your children wash their hands regularly and always before eating
  • Wash toys, teething rights, and pacifiers frequently
Equal Housing Opportunity

Waco Housing & Community Development >>