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Lead, the Landlords Lament

  That d amn able lead has been used by humans for at least 5,000 years. The first recorded use was by the Romans who fabricated sheet lead and pipe for their water systems. They also used lead in wine casks and eating utensils. 
      The basic "Dutch Boy" process for producing "white lead" has been known for centuries. Most of the white lead produced in this country prior to 1977 was used in residential paint. 
      Estimates indicate that as much as 50,000,000 tons of lead was applied to American homes prior to its ban in 1978. By contrast, Europe banned the use of lead paint in residences in 1921.
In 1996 the federal government mandated disclosure of any and all known lead-based paint and/or lead-based paint hazards in housing.
      Landlords and home sellers also had to begin giving buyers and renters a federal pamphlet titled "Protect Your Family From Lead in Your Home." 
      All leases, rental and real estate sales agreements are now required to include special language to ensure that disclosure and notification actually takes place. The government made landlords, sellers and real estate brokers share responsibility under the new law for ensuring compliance. 

See a sample lead paint lease addendum on our RHOL member forms page.

Lead hazards are not confined to lead-based paint. They include: dirt exposed to almost a hundred years of leaded-gasoline exhaust, yellow dye used in some plastics, lead water pipes, leaded-glass, and even mini-blinds and candle wicks.

      Three North Carolina counties have each reported a lead poisoning case where at least one source of lead exposure has been identified as mini-blinds in the home. The Arizona Department of Health Services has also found mini-blinds to be a source of lead poisoning in at least one case.
       Laboratory tests have led some Pubic Health officials recently to concluded that imported plastic mini-blinds contain high levels of lead. The blinds they tested had been imported from Mexico and southeast Asia. They are made of materials that break down and shed dust which contain high levels of lead.
      Small children are at the highest health risk and are also most likely to chew on blinds or handle them and then put fingers in their mouths.
       Prudent landlords will warn parents in writing and take whatever steps and precautions that are appropriate.

Feb. 14, 2001 (CBSHealthWatch)
      Candles can set a romantic mood, but the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), under pressure from consumer advocacy groups, has announced the start of the process to ban candle wicks containing lead from being produced in the US or imported.  Lead cores reportedly allow candlewicks to stand up straighter.
This is the first step in a three-step process of accepting public comment on the topic, stated a CPSC spokesperson.  In the meantime, a number of candle manufacturers and retail stores have cleared lead-wicked candles from their shelves.
There is currently no official ban on the wicks, but many manufacturers and retailers have voluntarily avoided the dangerous metal.  Burning these candles releases the lead into the air, where it can be inhaled directly or settle on items that children touch and put in their mouths.

Other lead poisoning sources:


      State health officials have issued a warning about certain imported jewelry, saying a 2-year-old boy's lead poisoning was apparently caused by a ``What Would Jesus Do'' necklace.
      The state Department of Health issued the alert after the boy was found to have extremely high levels of lead in his blood. He had worn one of the popular necklaces for several weeks.
      Tests on ``WWJD'' and other inexpensive imported necklaces from China, Korea and Taiwan found they had dangerous levels of nickel and lead, said Dr. Fredia Wadley, the state health officer.
       Health officials recommended people stop wearing the imported jewelry until further testing is done. No problems were found with similar U.S.-made jewelry.


      Mulan backpacks and rolling luggage is being recalled by Pyramid Associates, Inc. because the artwork contains high levels of lead.
      Consumers are urged to return the items to their place of purchase for a refund.
     For more information, call Pyramid toll free at 1-800-543-4327.

Lead has also been identified in some baby-food, clothing zippers, gift wrapping paper, yellow plastic, hair dyes, and lipstick. 

RHOL pages on Lead Paint include: .

The Lead-Based Paint Disclosure Rule (Title X, Section 1018) started it all. It is the 1996 Federal requirements for disclosure of known lead-based paint and/or lead-based paint hazards in housing.


EPA Lead Paint Booklet  Note: this is the complete booklet that must be given to tenants when they rent pre-1978 property. You can view the entire book here in your Web Browser. RHOL members can download the booklet, print it in black and white or color, then assemble and staple it. Members will find everything you need in the Forms Web. This booklet and the necessary disclosure forms are available in both English and Spanish

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