Why is lead paint a problem?
Lead-based paint is toxic to young children and pregnant women. It can chip and peel, disintegrate into dust or wash off into the soil. If it is breathed in or eaten (young children has been known to eat anything!) lead paint dust or chips can cause lead poisoning.
Consequences of lead paint exposure
Lead poisoning can cause learning disabilities, attention deficits, headaches, memory loss, digestion problems, and kidney damage. Birth defects are not uncommon.
The use of lead paint is now illegal. But thousands of homes built before 1978 still contain lead-based paint. Laws do not require the paint to be removed, but a landlord or someone selling an old house has to disclose if there is lead-based paint in a building.
So, what must my landlord do?
Potential renters must know if a property contains lead-based paint. A landlord must give his tenants a pamphlet that describes the dangers of lead paint.
The presence of lead paint must be specifically mentioned in the lease agreement. If the landlord knows a property was built before 1978, it must be tested to gauge the level of contamination.
A landlord that fails to adhere to this, can face hefty fines, liability for short- and long-term damages done to tenants and in very serious cases, even jail time.