Lead Poisoning Information for Homeowners

The most common lead exposure in Rhode Island comes from lead-based paint and lead dust found in homes built before 1978. Homeowners should maintain their homes to keep them lead safe and correct damaged, chipping, or flaking paint immediately. Landlords have additional requirements to protect their tenants from lead hazards. more

What you should do

Keep your home clean

Cleaning regularly will help you reduce your exposure to lead in paint, dust, and soil. Clean or remove shoes or use a doormat before entering your home to prevent tracking in soil that may contain lead.

Wet clean floors, stairs, and "friction areas" weekly. Friction areas are certain vulnerable surfaces of your home that include windows, stair treads, and sometimes doors and door frames, when they bind. Paint in these areas can produce lead dust even if it is not peeling. Use a mop or sponge with warm water and a general all-purpose cleaner or a lead specific cleaning agent. Thoroughly rinse sponges and mop heads after cleaning dusty or dirty areas. more

Look for sources of lead in and around your home

Lead can be found in many places in your home, such as in peeling and chipping lead paint, dust from lead paint, soil in your yard, tap water from lead pipes or lead solder, pottery, crystal, ceramic dishes, and toys.

If you see chipping or peeling paint in the interior of your home, or if you see damaged paint or bare soil outside your home:

  • Immediately wet clean any paint chips or dust.
  • Correct damaged paint and clean interior surfaces.
  • Cover bare soil.

Hire licensed lead professionals when you renovate, repair, or paint your property

If renovation, repair, or painting will disturb six square feet or more of paint per room on the interior or 20 square feet or more of paint on the exterior of a pre-1978 house, the Rhode Island Renovation, Repair, and Painting Rule requires you to hire a licensed Lead Hazard Control Firm. more

If renovations will disturb exterior paint, Department of Environmental Management Air Pollution Control Regulation No. 24 requires you to give neighbors living within 50 feet of your home five days written notice of the work.

Have your home inspected for lead hazards

You can hire a Rhode Island Certified Environmental Lead Inspector to test paint, soil, dust, and water in and around your home for lead hazards. A clearance inspection that includes dust wipe samples is required after interior renovation, repair, or painting in pre-1978 homes. more

Disclose lead hazards to potential buyers

Rhode Island law requires owners of properties built before 1978 to disclose information about known and potential lead exposure hazards before the sale or rental of residential property. To comply with the law:

  • Keep copies of all lead inspection reports and certifications for as long as you own your home and provide copies to potential buyers when you sell your home.
  • Include a lead warning and disclosure statement in the lease or sales contract. Spanish
  • Provide potential buyers with copies of the Rhode Island version of the EPA pamphlet Protect Your Family from Lead in Your Home, and keep written proof of the booklet's distribution for at least three years.
  • Know that potential buyers have a 10-day period to conduct a lead inspection or risk assessment before the sales contract takes effect.