Lead Paint Regulations
Most homes built before 1950 have lead paint. After 1950, the use of lead in paint declined; but many homes built until 1978 still had some lead paint. Lead paint is most likely to be hazardous when it is deteriorating (chipping, flaking, or chalking) or when maintenance or remodeling work creates lead dust or debris.
Various lead paint inspection services are available to identify lead paint or to evaluate lead paint hazards. You may obtain a list of accredited inspection contractors from the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE). You may do some limited testing yourself, but information provided by a trained and accredited inspector will generally be more complete and definitive.
A complete survey is performed to determine the presence and location of lead paint hazards in a home or other building. Such a survey includes sampling of all painted surfaces on the interior and the exterior of the building. Neither a single paint chip sample nor a composite sample of several different areas within a building can give an accurate picture of the extent or location of lead paint hazards. A lead paint survey may be of particular use if you are planning repainting or remodeling activities that may disturb painted surfaces in your home.
A risk assessment will provide an evaluation of potential sources of lead exposure in a home. The condition of the paint should be noted because dust from peeling, chipping or chalking paint is the most common source of lead exposure in young children. Repainting, maintenance and other home improvement activities should also be considered by the risk assessor. While lead paint continues to be the most important source of high level lead exposures, a full risk assessment may include other sources, such as water, food and parental occupation.
A lead hazard screen, conducted by a risk assessor, determines whether a home that is in good condition has potential lead hazards.