Under the Lead Law, the property owner is responsible for having his or her home deleaded or brought under interim control if it was built before 1978 and a child under the age of six lives there. Deleading permanently reduces the risk of lead poisoning. Until deleading occurs, here are some temporary ways to reduce lead hazards.

Temporary Ways to Keep Children Safe from Lead Paint Hazards

1. Clean often

  • Wet wiping regularly reduces lead dust levels in the home. (See cleaning guidelines below.)

2. Put duct tape or contact paper over peeling paint and plaster

  • Put duct tape or contact paper on window wells, window sills, walls or other surfaces with peeling paint or plaster. Clean these areas often. Window wells and sills can be cleaned more easily when contact paper or duct tape are put down first.

3. Keep the lower part of the window closed (if possible)

  • If a window well is in bad condition, keep the lower part of the window closed and open only the upper part. This will prevent your children from putting their hands or objects in the window well where the lead dust collects. It also helps keep lead dust from blowing into the house.

4. Move furniture to block contact with peeling paint and plaster

  • By moving a sofa in front of a crack in a wall, you can block a child's access to lead hazards. Never place furniture where a child may climb on it and fall out a window.

5. Change your child's bedroom (if possible)

  • If your child's bedroom has chipping paint or plaster, consider using another room without chipping paint for the bedroom.

6. Other ideas

  • Regularly have your child tested for lead poisoning.
  • Wash your child's hands and toys often.
  • If you are renovating or repairing, call CLPPP for more information on how to do the work safely before you begin.
  • Feed your child food high in iron, calcium, and vitamin C and low in fat.

Lead Poisoning and Your Child's Health

Lead paint is the most common cause of childhood lead poisoning. When old paint cracks or peels, or when lead-painted surfaces rub against each other or are bumped, lead paint dust or chips are created. Children typically become poisoned by putting their fingers which have touched lead dust into their mouths. Lead poisoning can cause lasting damage to children's brains, kidneys, and nervous systems. Even lower levels of lead can slow children's development and cause learning and behavioral problems. Children under the age of six are at greatest risk.

Keep Your Child Safe

Remember, these are only temporary ways to reduce the risk of lead poisoning from lead paint hazards. The only permanent way to reduce the risk of lead poisoning is to have the home deleaded. The owner of a home built before 1978 is responsible for having it deleaded or brought under interim control when a child under the age of six lives there.

Temporarily Reducing Lead Paint Hazards by Cleaning

1. Wear plastic gloves to clean.

2. Pick up all chips by hand or use a damp paper towel (Window areas often have lots of paint chips)

  • Seal chips and paper towels in a plastic bag and throw out.
    Do not use a household vacuum or broom to clean up lead paint chips or dust!

3. Wash household surfaces

  • Use TSP, a lead-specific detergent, or any all-purpose, non-abrasive cleaner.
  • Scrub well for best results. (Don't scrub hard enough to remove the intact paint.)
  • Clean window wells, window sills, play areas, and floors at least once or twice a week.
  • Keep children away when cleaning.
  • Keep all cleaners safely away from children.

4. Use a spray bottle to keep dust levels down

  • Use a cleaner already in a spray bottle, or put the cleaner into a spray bottle.
  • If you must use a bucket, keep the wash water clean. Never put dirty paper towels into the wash water.

5. Use paper towels

  • Don't use dish cloths or sponges to clean.
  • Use a new paper towel to clean each area.
  • Seal the used paper towels and gloves in a plastic bag and throw them out.

6. Rinse after cleaning

  • Use clean water and paper towels for rinsing each area

7. Clean up properly

  • Wash your hands when cleaning is done.
  • Pour any wash and rinse water down the toilet, not the sink.

Important! Do not use a household vacuum or broom to clean up lead paint chips or dust. This could spread the lead dust into the air and into your vacuum cleaner or room.

This information is provided by the Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program within the Department of Public Health.