I write some version of this every year. Our housing stock in St. Paul is old. Some folks consider houses built in the 1950’s old, but in St. Paul they are newish. 43% of the houses in St. Paul were built before 1939.
Any house that was built before 1978 could have lead-based paint in it. Since about 80% of the houses in St. Paul were built before 1978 it is safe to assume unless proven otherwise most St. Paul houses have lead-based paint in them.
Lead is harmful to human beings, especially to children and Federal law requires that persons buying or renting a home that was built before 1978 receive a disclosure that states that the home could have lead-based paint in it. Homebuyers can have the paint tested for lead but they almost never do.
Buyers are given a pamphlet about how to protect their families from lead-based paint.
Washing hands and covering chipped or peeling paint is recommended. Having paint tested before removing it is also recommended.
One of my clients had a child who had an elevated level of lead in his system. Lead was found in the finish on an old built-in buffet in a home built in the late 1930s.
We are in a strong seller’s market and In multiple offer situations, sellers are likely to reject the offer in which the buyer plans to have the paint tested for lead.
Unless the homeowner has test results that prove there is no lead-based paint in the home or the home was built after 1978 please assume that there is lead-based paint and take appropriate precautions.
Lead From Paint, Dust, and Soil Can Be Dangerous If Not Managed Properly
FACT: Lead exposure can harm young children and babies even before they are born.
FACT: Even children that seem healthy can have high levels of lead in their bodies.
FACT: People can get lead in their bodies by breathing or swallowing lead dust, or by eating soil or paint chips with lead in them.
FACT: People have many options for reducing lead hazards. In most cases, lead-based paint that is in good condition is not a hazard.
FACT: Removing lead-based paint improperly can increase the danger to your family.
Also, consider that if the exterior of a home is or was wood and it has been scraped and painted there could be lead in the soil, and before unleaded gasoline became the norm there was lead in our gas tanks too and some of it ended up in the air and sold. There is more but I think this is enough for now.