When looking to buy a new home, there are so many factors to consider. As a vigilant new homeowner, you want to make sure that your house or apartment is a safe and comfortable place. One thing that is of the utmost importance for your families safety is an absence of lead paint. Lead is an extremely toxic metal that was once a popular base in the paint. This material can be seriously detrimental to the health of you and your family. Luckily, the state and the federal government have taken steps to outlaw the use of lead paint, with various Lead Paint Laws.
What is the Lead Paint Law?
In 1978, the federal government officially outlawed the use of lead-based paint in residential buildings. This was after many state governments had independently banned it, following research that showed its numerous health risks. With the 1992 passing of the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act, all homes built before 1978 must include a lead paint disclosure of lead-based paint and lead-based paint hazards. As a homeowner or tenant, it is your right to live in a lead-free home, and it is the responsibility of your landlord or previous homeowner to assure this.
What Risk Does Lead Paint Pose?
Lead paint offers the greatest risk to children, infancy through adolescence, and pregnant woman. Lead exposure has been proven to cause learning and behavior problems, as well as delay physical growth and mental development. Symptoms of lead poisoning may include headaches, nausea, lethargy, and irritability. However, Children who are suffering from lead poisoning often show no symptoms, making it particularly insidious. In addition, children are also at risk, due to their likelihood or chewing or playing with a household item. For example, a toddler may chew on a window ledge painted with lead-paint, allowing them to ingest the harmful material. Most building using lead-based pigment, are also older buildings, making it likely that paint will be chipping, or being spread through the air via dust. All these factors make lead paint a huge risk for your family.
HISTORY OF LEAD USAGE
Lead has been used in homes for centuries. As far back as 3000 B.C.E., Romans have used lead to in a variety of ways such as plumbing, culinary tools, and even in recipes themselves. The lead in the metal work such as in pipes or kettles made things sturdier since lead does not corrode or rust easily. Lead was also easier to work with when making these tools so it was preferred over other metals such as bronze. Lead in the form acetate tastes sweet and sugar was a rare thing so substituting sugar for the lead was very common. One thing Romans did often was boiling their grapes with lead acetate to make their wine much sweeter. In fact, nearly one-fifth of the recovered ancient Roman recipes had lead listed as an ingredient. Do not be deceived by these so-called "benefits" of lead. Being exposed to lead is extremely dangerous and as aforementioned can cause headaches, nausea, lethargy, and irritability. The high consumption and usage of lead is one major factor why the ancient Romans died so young so do not by any circumstances ingest or go near lead.
Who is Protected Under This Law?
This law applies to privately owned residences and, as well as public housing like NYCHA residences, and housing receiving public assistance.
Who is Not Protected Under This Law?
There are a myriad residences that are not protected under this legislation, including
- Housing built after 1977
- Zero-bedroom units, such as efficiencies, lofts, and dormitories
- Housing with leases for less than 100 days, such as vacation houses or short-term rentals
- Housing exclusively for the elderly (unless there are children living there)
- Housing for the handicapped (unless there are children living there)
- Rental housing that has been inspected by a certified inspector and found to be free of lead-based paint
- Houses being sold because of foreclosure
How do I Make Sure my Home is Lead-Free?
There are various regulations to assure that buyers are educated on protecting their families and assuring their new purchase is lead-free. According to the Environmental Protection Agency's online database, before signing a contract to buy or lease housing built before 1978, there are a few things buyer are legally obliged to be provided with:
- "An EPA-approved information pamphlet on identifying and controlling lead-based paint hazards titled Protect Your Family From Lead In Your Home (PDF).
- Any known information concerning the presence of lead-based paint or lead-based paint hazards in the home or building.
- For multi-unit buildings, this requirement includes records and reports concerning common areas and other units when such information was obtained as a result of a building-wide evaluation.
- An attachment to the contract, or language inserted in the contract, that includes a "Lead Warning Statement" and confirms that the seller has complied with all notification requirements.
- A 10-day period to conduct a paint inspection or risk assessment for lead-based paint or lead-based paint hazards. Parties may mutually agree, in writing, to lengthen or shorten the time period for inspection. Homebuyers may waive this inspection opportunity. If you have a concern about possible lead-based paint, then get a lead inspection from a certified inspector before buying."
We here at Tom Crimmins Realty make sure each and every property we offer is held to high standards and are perfectly safe. We make sure each home is lead-free so you never have to worry about the dangers of lead especially when you have children or are expecting children when you want to expand and move into a new home. To ensure the safety of all, we ascertain each and every aspect of the home is safe, not just the lead paint. If you are ever in the neighborhood, you can visit us at 304 Manor Road, Staten Island, NY or just give us a call at (718) 370-3200 if you have any questions, are interested in a property, or just want to see a friendly face.