Lead paint in rental house

Hi, 

I am a renter in Oakland with a ten-month-old. I did some testing around the house for lead when I was pregnant, but I guess I wasn't very thorough -- my mom was just visiting and did a different test and found lead underneath chipping paint on our windowsills, and it looks like it might be on baseboards, as well. We live in an old house (~1920) and there is also carpeting, which probably contains lead dust from the chipping paint. I am in a bit of a panic and would love suggestions about contractors to use and other things we can do in the meantime. We have contacted our landlord who is usually quite responsive, but any additional support/advice would be appreciated. Thanks! 

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RE: Lead paint in rental house ()

Start here: http://www.achhd.org/contactus.htm

Once I started a dialog with this department for our issues (contractors working next door in all kinds of violation of lead safe rules, and the presence of lead paint on our own property), they were very, very responsive and helpful. They came down and fined the contractors next door within a couple of days. They answered all of my concerns by phone. Highly recommended.

RE: Lead paint in rental house ()

Hi,

I've lived in a number of old houses (2 with my now 2.5 year old) and all of them have had a lead paint disclosure. Most paint was lead-based back before 1971. As long as it's painted over and not chipping (and your 10-month old isn't gumming the walls) it should present no problems. So I would definitely see about getting your landlord to have the house freshly repainted, and fix any doors or windows that might not close cleanly as that can promote further chipping.

Hope that helps!

RE: Lead paint in rental house ()

This is a common issue in older homes. One of the cheaper remediation options is to simply paint over the old lead-based paint. Sounds like this was done here as the more expensive options involves the guys in hazmat suits removing all the paint. The best thing you can do is to paint over the windowsills and to vacuum/steam clean the carpets if you're concerned about dust. You'll have to talk to your landlord about fully removing the old paint although it's way more expensive and legally all that's required is to cover it up.

RE: Lead paint in rental house ()

 Here is what I would do if I were you .  I’d give my landlord a heads up .  Buy a sander and a dust mask  and some paint .  Sand down the chipped areas especially the ones in your kids reach And paint over it.  You can’t really get rid of every speck of lead but you can contain it.  And that is safe .  As for your carpet I would think a good vacuuming would do it .  But maybe a shampoo would help you feel better about the whole thing as well. 

RE: Lead paint in rental house ()

Hi there! When you signed your lease there should have been a disclosure about lead paint. If you signed the lead disclosure then your landlord may not want to mitigate the issue. At the least you could request proper testing of the paint or if testing has been done in the past by the owner then request to see the testing results. Most of the kits you buy over the counter do not detect lead levels very accurately and they do not tell you the actual parts per million (ppm) of the lead content in the paint. You need that information to know if there is a hazard present that is above the EPA regulated lead level. I have kids too and live in an older home. I am also a historic preservation specialist, so I deal with lead paint every day with my job. I know I have lead paint in my home just given its age. My focus is making sure the paint on the abrasion surfaces is sound. That would be the inside jamb of the windows and the window sash itself. So the moving parts of the window that rub against each other and create lead dust. You can just have a painter start with those areas. The other location that tends to be of concern is the window stool. That is the inside window sill piece the sticks out from the wall. It is at the perfect height for chewing toddlers. You may want to focus on striping that surface as well. Other than that I do not worry so much in my house. I do however get my kids tested for lead by our peds doc on a regular basis. 

RE: Lead paint in rental house ()

Alameda County has a lead abatement and inspection program.  I would start with them.  They can help you evaluate the situation' and make recommendations.   A "Hepa" vacuum will pick up lead dust.   Since 10 month olds put everything into their mouths, that is scary.   Tell your doctor, he or she can test the baby for lead contamination and you will know if you have a problem now.  I don't think lead stays in the blood more than a couple of weeks though.   If you are renting, can you move?   Good luck.  

RE: Lead paint in rental house ()

I had a similar scare when my son was a baby.  I spoke with someone at the Alameda County Health Department and she was very helpful.  It's been a number of years now, but I do remember she encouraged us to get blood tests, to keep the floors clean, and to eat a diet rich in iron and vitamin-C.  As soon as we got the blood tests (which were clean) it was a huge relief.  We're now in a different old apartment and I assume there's lead here, too, but I don't worry about it.  We continue to clean the floors and make sure our kid gets lots of iron and vitamin C. 

The County's website has a lot of information: http://www.achhd.org/index.htm

This booklet in particular is helpful:  http://www.achhd.org/documents/tenantguideenglish.pdf

RE: Lead paint in rental house ()

Generally, the recommendation I have heard in the past is to just paint again to contain the lead. But you can't paint without sanding. And if you sand, you release the lead into the air. Even tiny amounts of lead can cause serious problems. I would suggest moving before your child becomes mobile. I wouldn't want my kid crawling around on a floor with bits of lead in the dust. 

RE: Lead paint in rental house ()

Your landlord is required to provide a disclosure about the existence of lead paint, which you likely would have signed when you started renting this house. If the paint is chipping, he is only required to encapsulate it by painting over it. (Full abatement or window replacement is very expensive.) This task must be performed by a painting contractor who is certified by the California Dept of Public Health. A certified painting contractor must follow certain protocols, including using a HEPA vacuum to prevent the spread of lead chips and dust. Don't attempt to sand and paint yourself. There are serious fines if you do so. Your landlord should organize any painting job to encapsulate lead. Many homes in the Bay Area are old and have lead paint, and people have managed to survive all these years without getting lead poisoning. Frequent cleaning of floors and windows would help. However, If you are still concerned about your child being exposed to lead, then you should consider moving to a house constructed after 1978, when lead was banned from paint in California.