Q. What is lead?
is a bluish-gray, soft metallic element used in many household
and industrial items from brass fixtures to batteries, and
fine crystal to paint.
are the properties of lead which have caused it to be widely
will not rust, oxidizes at an extremely slow rate, it
will exist for a very long
time in a solid state.
was used as a pigment and drying agent in “alkyd” (oil
based) paint. Note: “Latex” (water
based) paint, generally does not contain lead.
melts at a very low temperature and solidifies rapidly which
makes it ideal for
use in solder.
cannot be penetrated by X-rays.
is extremely malleable and can be drilled or sawn easily.
is no economical metal heavier than lead.
is not easily corroded and is ideal for car batteries and lining tanks which contain
corrosive liquids. It is also used to protect metal wires and
Q. What are
sources of lead exposure?
was used in house paint until it was banned in 1978. Dust
and chips can
be generated whenever it deteriorates or is scraped or sanded.
was widely used in gasoline until 1974, when a gradual regulated
phase out began. Lead can be found in high concentrations in the soil
surrounding high traffic routes as a result of leaded gasoline
can also be found in the soil surrounding buildings or structures
painted with lead-based paint.
water may contain lead due to the use of lead pipes or
The use of lead pipes and solder (for potable water supplies)
was banned in 1987.
crystal or lead-glazed pottery or porcelain
are some occupations which might result in occupational lead
smelters & lead-reclamation plants
especially lead miners
or crystal ware manufactures
welders or cutters
- Oil painting
or fishing equipment
areas of exposure
Note: “Lead” pencils
manufactured today DO NOT contain lead; they contain graphite.
Q. What is considered to be
an unacceptable level of lead in paint?
paint is defined by the US Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA) as any paint that contains more than 0.5 percent lead
by weight (or about 1 milligram per square centimeter of painted
surface). This is the "action
which the EPA recommends removal of lead paint if it
is deteriorating and chipping.
in Drinking Water
Q. Why is lead in drinking
lead is easily absorbed into the blood stream and our bodies
cannot distinguish lead from other minerals, it is rapidly
assimilated by the body when it is drunk.
does lead get into drinking water?
lead gets into drinking water from the plumbing fixtures in your
house which may contain lead solder. As a result of corrosion,
lead and other metals from the pipes dissolve into the water. If
you have a private well, there are other ways that lead can get
into your drinking water, such as from well parts made of lead,
or from a nearby industrial waste facility or municipal landfill.
factors affect how much lead can get into my drinking water?
Type of plumbing materials:
solder was used routinely until it was
banned in 1987 to seal the joints
of copper pipes. Lead solder typically contained about 50%
soldering can increase the amount of lead that is dissolved into
the water. Brass
fixtures and faucets can contain up to 8% lead and are also a
significant source of lead in drinking water.
Length of time that water stands
The longer the time that water resides
in the plumbing, the more likely it is that lead will build
up in drinking water.
water can increase the amount of lead that can
get into drinking water. Corrosive
water can be caused by high acidity or low mineral content. Acidic
water tends to dissolve lead from pipes and solder into water. Typically,
minerals form a protective barrier or “scale” around
solder and therefore decrease the
amount of lead that can get into the water. One
indicator of corrosion in copper pipes is a blue-green stain
around the drain of a white enamel sink. The
absence of such a stain does not mean that corrosion is
not occurring. Public
water companies are required to correct this problem if it occurs.
can I tell if my water has lead in it?
best way to tell how much lead is in your water is to have it tested
by a laboratory certified by the New Jersey Department of Environmental
Protection, Office of Quality Assurance/Laboratory Certification. For more information on how to contact this office, please refer to the Indoor Environments Contacts page.
can also call your water company and ask if they are offering
testing or can recommend a certified laboratory in your area. The
laboratory will provide you with one liter bottles to collect
the water samples. At least one sample should be taken
from your kitchen tap in the morning before any water has been
used. This “first
draw” water sample will probably contain the highest
level of lead. If your water contains more than 15 micrograms
of lead per liter of water (ug/L), it is important to take
steps to reduce that level.
can I reduce the level lead in my drinking water?
If the water from the cold water faucet
has not been used for several hours, such as overnight, let
it run for 15 to 30 seconds (when the temperature of the
water changes) before using it for drinking, cooking or preparing
consume water from the hot water faucet.
use fresh water from the cold water tap.
boil water excessively.
may increase the concentration of lead in water due to evaporation.
- Avoid using lead-based
Cookware made outside of this country
lead, which will contaminate food during cooking.
If you purchase a water
filtration system, be certain that it is “certified” for
lead removal before making the investment.
is lead dangerous?
effects of lead-poisoning on children can be devastating.
Just 10 micrograms of lead per day (the equivalent of 3 grains
of sugar) can place a child in danger. Irreversible
learning disabilities as well as lowered intelligence are the
usual result. Lead poisoning occurs when lead has been introduced
into the bloodstream by ingestion and inhalation of lead
dust or fumes. Our
bodies cannot distinguish lead from other minerals, like iron
and calcium, which our bodies actually need, and sends it
directly to vital organs. Lead
is then deposited in these organs as well as our brain and bone
of childbearing age and children under the age of six are considered
to be at the highest risk.
Q. Why are pregnant women and
children at such a high risk?
women are at a high risk for lead poisoning because any lead
that they are exposed to transfers directly to the unborn baby. The
main reason for this is the way a child’s body assimilates
lead (thinking it is a vital nutrient). In addition, children
(both unborn and born) have bodies which are still developing,
and a low body weight. In
addition, small children have a high rate of hand/toy-to-mouth
Q. How does lead get from the
paint into my child?
get lead poisoning by:
- Putting hands
or toys with lead dust on them in their mouths
- Eating lead paint
chips that peel off the wall
- Chewing on windows
sills, door frames or any other lead painted surface
my child be screened for lead poisoning?
you live in a home built before 1978, your children should
be tested. Children
between the ages of nine months through five years are at the
greatest risk for lead poisoning. Children with lead poisoning
might not look sick. Ask your doctor to perform a blood
test on your children to screen for lead in their blood. Most
children will have a test result below 10 ug/dl (micrograms per
deciliter) of lead in their blood. Ask your doctor to explain
the results. If
you or your doctor have questions about the results, you should
contact the NJDOH, Division
of Family Health Services, Childhood Lead Poisoning Program.
can I get my child and/or myself tested, and how much would it
private physician or local health department can test for
blood-lead tests. Many
private insurance policies cover the cost blood-lead levels. Children
covered by Medicaid are eligible for free screening. The
cost of a blood-lead test generally ranges from $10 to $75,
plus the charge of an office visit.
is a person considered “lead-poisoned”?
replaces the calcium and/or iron in the hemoglobin. Lead can
be stored in tissue and bones for several years and may reach
a toxic level later in life. The normal level of lead in the
blood is 0-10 ug/dl, a person has lead poisoning when blood
levels are above 15 ug/dl, and levels greater than 45 ug/dl
are considered medical emergencies where hospital treatment
is advised. One hundred to 150 ug/dl is lethal in children.
are the symptoms of lead poisoning?
poisoning produces a variety of symptoms that are often overlooked
as everyday medical complaints:
and muscle aches
are some of the medical problems that can occur as a result of lead
with high levels of lead in their bodies may suffer damage
to the brain and nervous system, behavior and learning problems, slowed
growth, hearing problems, and headaches. One in six children in the USA
have unsafe blood-lead levels, one in eleven have dangerous blood-lead
levels. Over 1.7 million children now have blood-lead levels above safe
limits, mostly due to exposure to lead-based paint hazards.
Women may suffer from
difficulties during pregnancy, other reproductive problems
(both men and women), high blood pressure, digestive problems, nerve
disorders, memory and concentration problems, and muscle and joint
Additional problems which
may result from lead poisoning, include the following:
or foot drop
there a cure for lead poisoning?
most crucial treatment for lead-poisoning is to stop
the lead from a person’s environment helps to ensure a decline
in blood-lead levels. The longer a person is exposed to lead,
the greater the likelihood that damage to the person’s
health will result. In
some cases, medications are used to lower blood-lead
Testing For Lead
Q. What are the appropriate
solution is applied to a painted surface which causes a chemical
reaction (indicated by a color
change) if lead is present. This test is quick and inexpensive,
but it is not accurate. This test determines lead is present but not
how much is present. Chemical Spot Testing is destructive, as paint must be scraped
to test lower level of sample.
method involves expensive instrumentation which exposes a
radioactive source to a surface to
determine the percentage of lead. Results are immediately available
and usually accurate depending on the training of the operator.
It is expensive and may encounter
some difficulties when sampling irregular surfaces or different
subsurface materials such as brick or metal and may require
method calls for cutting paint chips as samples to be sent
to a laboratory or analysis. The advantages
include its accuracy because these samples are analyzed in
a laboratory. It is destructive and can take several days
to get results.
What to Do if
You Have Lead
Q. What can I do to protect
my family and myself from lead poisoning?
children away from peeling or chipping paint and accessible
surfaces painted with lead-based paint, especially window
and window wells.
floors, window frames, window sills and other painted surfaces
weekly with warm water and a tri-sodium phosphate (TSP) based cleaner
(1/2 cup automatic dishwashing liquid to 1 gallon of water).
water and a different mop.
not vacuum hard surfaces. Normal household vacuums
serve only to scatter
dust further since it does not have a filter capable of containing
the fine lead dust.
children’s hands, faces, toys and pacifiers frequently.
more lead is absorbed on an empty stomach, make sure your
regular nutritious meals.Make
sure your child’s diet contains an adequate amount of iron
high in iron: fortified cereals, cooked beans, spinach
high in calcium: milk, yogurt, cheese and green vegetables.
the soil around your home is likely to be lead-contaminated,
or other ground cover. If lead-based paint is the
source of soil contamination,
most lead will be near painted surfaces such as exterior
such cases, plant bushes next to the house to keep children
your soil is contaminated with lead, provide a sandbox
with a solid
bottom, top cover, and clean sand for you child to play
and dig in. Wash
children’s hands when they come inside from playing
outdoors. To avoid
tracking in lead from soil, clean shoes before entering
If your house was built prior
to 1978, test the
paint in your home before doing any renovation or remodeling
surfaces. If lead is detected, take all necessary
precautions to ensure
that leaded paint is removed in a safe manner.
the lead content in your tap water is higher than the
standard, let the water run for several minutes before
using it. Use
fully-flushed water from the cold water
tap for drinking and cooking.
not store food in open cans, especially imported cans. Do
or serve food in pottery that is meant for decorative
use only. Do
store wine or other alcoholic beverages in leaded crystal
lead crystal containers.
If you or others in your
family work with lead, make sure
any lead-contaminated clothing is handled safely and
household laundry. Keep work areas away from any
areas where children are
present. Use proper respiratory protection any
time you are working with lead.
can a lead-based paint problem be remediated?
Do not burn any lead-painted
items as this creates
an extremely dangerous lead hazard.
is not recommended that the average homeowner attempt to correct
their own lead-based paint problem, since it is very easy to make
the problem worse instead of better. Many cases of lead poisoning
are as a result of an inexperienced person attempting to abate a
Three primary remediation methods:
It is often easiest to replace old doors, windows, trim, and other
woodwork with new materials. The item should be wrapped
in heavy plastic and kept
away from children.
Wood, vinyl, aluminum, tile, stone, plaster, and special
some of the products used to cover lead paint. Encapsulants can
be used on exterior
as well as interior areas. First the area is prepared by wet scraping
then an encapsulant is applied making sure the seams are sealed.
Each of the paint-removal methods (sanding, scraping, chemical stripping,
sandblasting, heat guns) can produce lead fumes and dust. It
recommended that you have professionals trained in the removal of
paint do this work:
Other Remediation methods:
Wet methods help reduce lead dust.
This method is typically used for
a limited area where peeling paint is a problem Paint must
be thoroughly wetted
prior to scrapping. Tools include a wire brush, paint scraper,
or other abrasion tool for scraping. Thorough cleanup is necessary
and liquid waste must be
disposed of properly.
Caustic and off-site chemical
This technique can be messy and expensive,
but it is a way to preserve decorative trim which may be impossible
to replace. The wood is taken out of the house to a facility which
will strip (de-lead) the
article by dipping it into a chemical stripper. This is not recommended
for windows or other friction surfaces.
method creates a lot of dust. The area should be enclosed
to prevent the spread of lead dust. Respirators should be
worn in the area when work is being
are typically used to soften thick paint prior to scraping. Due
to the potential risk
of breathing in lead vapors, special care must be taken with the
of the gun, and approved respirators should be worn at all times.
Q. I’m buying/selling/renting
my home, what regulations exist regarding any lead which might
To protect families from
exposure to lead from paint, dust, and soil, Congress passed the
Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Act of 1992, also known
as Title X. Section
1018 of this law directs HUD and EPA to require the disclosure
of known information on lead-based paint and lead-based paint hazards
before the sale or lease of most housing built before 1978. Sellers and landlords
must disclose known lead-based paint and lead-based paint hazards
and provide available reports to buyers or renters. Sellers
and landlords must give buyers and renters a pamphlet, developed
by EPA, HUD, and CPSC, entitled Protect
Your Family from Lead in Your Home
Homebuyers will get
a 10-day period to conduct a lead-based paint inspection or risk
assessment at their own expense. The rule gives the two parties
flexibility to negotiate key terms of the evaluation.
Sales contracts and
leasing agreements must include certain notification and disclosure
Sellers, lessors, and
real estate agents share responsibility for ensuring compliance.
For owners of more than 4 dwelling units the effective date was September
6, 1996; for owners of 4 or fewer units, the effective
date was December 6, 1996. About 9 million renters and 3 million
home buyers will be affected each year. This rule does not require
any testing or removal of lead-based paint by sellers or landlords
and it does not invalidate leasing and sales contracts.
selling/leasing a house/apartment which might contain lead, what
are my responsibilities and liabilities?
landlords, and their agents will be responsible for providing
information on lead to the buyer or renter before sale or lease.
Any person who knowingly
fails to comply with any provision of the regulation shall be subject
to civil monetary penalties in accordance with the provisions of
42 U.S.C. 3545 and 24 CFR part 30.
The Secretary is authorized to
take such action as may be necessary to enjoin any violation of
this subpart in the appropriate Federal district court.
Any person who knowingly
violates the provisions of this subpart shall be jointly and severally
liable to the purchaser or lessee in an amount equal to 3 times
the amount of damages incurred by such individual.
In any civil action brought
for damages pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 4852d(b)(3), the appropriate
court may award court costs to the party commencing such action,
together with reasonable attorney fees and any expert witness fees,
if that party prevails.
Failure or refusal to comply
with Sec. 745.107 (disclosure requirements for sellers and lessors),
Sec. 745.110 (opportunity to conduct an evaluation), Sec. 745.113
(certification and acknowledgment of disclosure), or Sec. 745.115
(agent responsibilities) is a violation of 42 U.S.C. 4852d(b)(5)
and of TSCA section 409 (15 U.S.C. 2689).
Violators may be subject to civil
and criminal sanctions pursuant to TSCA section 16 (15 U.S.C.
2615) for each violation. For purposes of enforcing this subpart,
the penalty for each violation applicable under 15 U.S.C. 2615 shall
be not more than $10,000.
and Certification Program in NJ
Q. I want to conduct lead
training in New Jersey, how do I get my agency certified?
be certified to teach NJ lead courses, agencies must complete
an initial “Training
Agency Certification Application Package”.
want to conduct lead abatement/evaluations in New Jersey, how
do I get my company and employees certified?
New Jersey, all companies must be certified by the Department of
Community Affairs (DCA) to conduct any lead abatement or evaluation
activities for housing, public buildings, commercial buildings
or superstructures. All of the contractor’s
employees, who conduct these lead activities, must be permitted
by the Department of Health (DOH).
following steps must be taken to acquire all necessary certifications:
- All workers,
supervisors, inspector/risk assessors and project designers must
complete a NJDOH approved training course with a NJDOH certified
- For more information on qualifications, please refer to the "Lead Licensing and Permit Requirements" page.
successful completion of this course, workers and project designers
may immediately apply to the DOH for their permit; supervisors
assessors must pass a third party state examination and then submit
an application to the DOH.
- To be
eligible for reciprocity in New Jersey, applicants must provide
documentation of a currently valid certification or license from
another state that has received authorization from the United States Environmental Protection Agency to administer and enforce a state certification and training program under Title IV of the Toxic Substances Control Act. All applicants for a reciprocal permit shall submit a complete application and submit it the the DOH.
Certification - Abatement
and evaluation contractors must contact the NJ Department of Community Affairs (DCA) for information pertaining to contractor certification. For information on how to contact the DCA, please refer to the Indoor Environments Contacts page.
Q. How long do I have,
completed my initial training, to apply for a permit?
have one year from the time you complete your training to submit
a complete application for that discipline to the DOH.
permit is due to expire soon, what do I have to do to renew it?
must contact a NJDOH approved lead
training provider and schedule yourself for a refresher course
in the appropriate discipline. If you are having difficulty
scheduling yourself for a course, please go to the Indoor Environments Contacts page for information on how to contact the DOH.
have a NJ permit, is there a grace period after it expires when
I can renew it without having to go through the initial training
you have 90 days after the permit expires until you have to begin
the certification process from the beginning (initial training
course, examination, etc.). You should begin
trying to schedule a refresher training course around 3 months
before the permit is due to
expire. In most instances the problem with course availability
and going beyond the 90
day grace period will be eliminated.
permit has expired and the 90 days aren’t up yet, can I work
again as soon as I get retrained?
you must possess a currently valid NJDOH permit to work. Therefore,
you must submit your application and await the arrival of your new
permit before you can begin working again. To avoid a lapse
see the next question.
permit expires shortly, I want to make sure that my application
gets approved as soon as possible, what can I do to make sure
importantly, get your refresher training scheduled as soon as
possible (around 3 months before the permit expires). When filling
out the application, make sure it is complete and that you provide
a telephone number where you can be reached between 8:30 am and
4:30 pm. This is in case
there are any questions on your application. When completing
the application, make sure you follow all of the directions carefully. There
are other factors, but the two primary reasons
an application is delayed are due to the following:
submitted does not meet the requirements stated in the directions
of the application have been left incomplete
will happen if I’m
caught working without a permit?
accordance with N.J.A.C. 8:62 you may be subject to a civil
administrative penalty of up to $5000 per day for the offense
and/or the suspension or revocation of your permit.
Q. I lost my permit, what should
must complete an "Application
for Replacement of Lead Permit" and submit it, proof of
identification and a certified check or money order for $25
to the address indicated on the application. A permit
will only be replace two times in a two year permit period.
Q Where can I get more information
Please refer to the "Related Lead Links" page.