Information about Lead Hazards

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About Lead

Lead is a naturally occurring metal that was used in many products, before it was severely restricted in late 1970s.

Lead is harmful to the human body, with no known safe level. Small amounts of lead can build up in the body and cause lifelong learning and behavior problems. Buildup of lead in the body is referred to as lead poisoning, and is the most common environmental illness in California children.

If your home or apartment building was built before 1978, chances are that the old paint contains lead. You need to take special precautions if you are repairing or remodeling your home, because exposure to lead-based paint, lead dust, or paint chips is a health hazard.

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What To Do About Lead

If a homeowner is concerned about lead in paint and soil, they may test for lead levels by hiring a CA Dept of Public Health-certified inspector or by collecting samples and sending them to an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) accredited lab. For more information, and a list of EPA accredited labs in California, go to the California Dept of Public Health website or call the LA County Dept of Public Health at (800) LA-4-LEAD.

In buildings built before 1978, prevent lead dust from forming by controlling moisture and immediately cleaning up any paint chips that form. When remodeling, wear a NIOSH-certified respirator and lay down plastic sheeting to catch any chips or dust. Keep children and pregnant women away from the work area. Learn more at the Los Angeles County Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program (CLPPP)