Encapsulation is a legal method of containing lead paint hazards under the Massachusetts Lead Law. An encapsulant is a special liquid coating that provides a long lasting, effective barrier over lead paint. Regular paint is NOT an encapsulant. Home owners must have a lead inspection by a Licensed Massachusetts lead inspector BEFORE they apply encapsulants as a deleading method.

Where can encapsulants be used?

Encapsulants can only be used on surfaces that are in good condition. Encapsulants cannot be used on surfaces which are: walked on, badly deteriorated, subject to friction or rubbing, or on the exterior of a home. An encapsulant must be applied to an entire architectural element: for example, a whole wall rather than a wall corner.

Who can apply an encapsulant?

You do not need to be a licensed deleader to apply an encapsulant. However, anyone planning on applying it must first become trained (review a brief training booklet and take an at-home test which must be returned to the Massachusetts Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program).

What must be done before a trained owner or agent can apply an encapsulant?

Before a trained owner/agent can apply encapsulants in a home, the surfaces must be tested to make sure the existing paint layers (leaded or unleaded) are sticking well to the surface (wood, plaster, etc.) and to each other. This testing is a requirement and must be done before applying an encapsulant.

Which encapsulants can be used?

Only approved encapsulant products may be applied. They must be on the State's Register of Approved Products and have the David Litter Laboratories Seal. Several encapsulant products have 20-year warranties if they are applied according to Massachusetts regulations and manufacturers' recommendations. Encapsulants are available in many paint and hardware stores. For a listing call the Massachusetts Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program at 1-800-532-9571.

Once an encapsulant is applied, what must be done to maintain it?

Encapsulants must be periodically checked by the homeowner to make sure they are in good condition.


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