Frequently Asked Questions
Lead is highly toxic and exposure causes serious health problems. Lead exposure in children has been proven to cause learning and behavioral problems. Massachusetts is a “strict liability” state, meaning that property owners may be held liable for criminal and/or civil violations. Owners of rental properties as well as property owners living in their own home are required to comply with Massachusetts Lead Law.
Hiring Master Lead Paint Inspection Services to inspect for both interior and exterior lead hazards not only helps to ensure the safety of those who live there, but also helps property owners protect themselves from legal liability by obtaining compliance with Massachusetts Lead Law. We will identify the lead hazards in your property and guide you through the process to obtain compliance.
If you are buying or selling a home, the law states that buyers are allowed to know how much lead is in the home, so buyers may request an inspection before purchasing. [See: Property Transfer Lead Paint Notification] Additionally, if you are planning to renovate, remodel, or repaint your home, you may be required to have a lead paint inspection called an RRP Inspection.
If lead paint is degraded, damaged, or otherwise disturbed, it can be easily ingested or inhaled in the form of dust and chips. Degradation may happen naturally over time as the paint is weathered down; through being disturbed or damaged during home repairs or renovations; or from the friction of use – opening and closing old windows and doors. Children are often exposed to lead paint chips or dust when crawling or playing on the floor, and ingest it through hand-to-mouth activities. They may also breathe in the dust, mainly during active renovations.
Once it is in the body, lead accumulates and causes permanent damage to the brain, nervous system, and organs. Symptoms of lead poisoning are often subtle, and may not be noticeable until the poisoning is severe. Testing is the only way to know your child’s lead level.
Your doctor, health care provider, local health clinic, health department or lead poisoning prevention program can test your child’s blood for lead. The Massachusetts Lead Law currently requires that all children be tested for lead between the ages and 9 and 12 months, and again at ages 2 and 3. Additionally, all children living in one of Massachusetts’ communities considered at high risk for lead poisoning must also be tested at age 4. Call CLPPP at 800-532-9571 for a list of high-risk communities.
Visit the MA Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program’s website to learn more about the effects of lead poisoning, signs and symptoms, and common myths about lead poisoning: https://www.mass.gov/service-details/learn-about-childhood-lead-poisoning
Massachusetts Lead Law requires the de-leading of lead hazards in houses, apartments and condominiums, and daycares with children 6 years of age or under. De-leading refers to the removal or covering of lead paint hazards, and may only be performed by licensed/authorized persons. Owners are responsible for complying with the law and paying the costs to de-lead (but there are programs which may help cover the cost of achieving compliance). This includes owners of rental property as well as owners living in their own home. If properties built before 1978 are being sold or rented, sellers, real estate agents, and property owners who rent their homes are required to notify their tenants or buyers of lead risks.
Not all lead paint in a home is a lead hazard. Lead paint hazards include: any loose lead paint; lead paint on windows and other friction surfaces such as doors, jambs, and stair treads; and surfaces considered accessible/mouth-able to children, such as window sills, handrails, and railing caps.
Compliance requires the interior, exterior, AND all common areas to be free of lead hazards. There are two ways to comply:
- Have all lead hazards corrected. To do this, you must first hire a licensed lead inspector like Master Lead Paint Inspection Services who will test the property for lead and record all lead hazards. Then lead hazards must be de-leaded by authorized persons. Following de-leading work a licensed lead inspector will reinspect and upon passing the re-inspection, the property owner will receive a Letter of Full De-leading Compliance.
- Property owners may choose to only have the urgent lead hazards fully corrected, while controlling remaining hazards in the meantime. This temporary method is called Interim Control, and not all properties will be eligible. You must first hire a licensed risk assessor who will inform you what work must be done for Interim Control. After the work is performed, and approved by a licensed risk assessor, you will receive a Letter of Interim Control, which allows the property owner up to 2 years to address the remaining lead hazards to receive a Letter of Full De-leading Compliance.
Re-inspections are performed following de-leading work to ensure that the work has been completed not only correctly, but also by persons with the correct authorization. Re-inspections are billed separately from the initial inspection.
There are two main parts to a lead re-inspection:
- The Visual Re-inspection:
The inspector will visually assess the property to make sure that all lead hazards have been corrected, and that no new hazards have been created. Work areas must also be visibly clean and free from dust and debris.
- Dust Wipe Sampling:
After the visual re-inspection has been passed, dust wipe samples are taken from floors, window sills, and window wells on the interior of a dwelling. These samples are assessed at an independent lab to determine whether the tested surfaces fall below the allowed lead limits.
Additionally, there are two kinds of re-inspection:
- Re-occupancy Re-inspection:
If high or moderate risk work is required on the interior of a dwelling, occupants must relocate while de-leading work is being done. After the interior de-leading work is completed, both the visual re-inspection and the dust wipe sampling must be passed before occupants may return home.
- Final Re-inspection:
After all de-leading work has been completed on the both the interior and exterior of the home, including any applicable common areas, a final re-inspection is performed.
De-leading is any work performed in order to bring a property into Compliance with the Lead Law, and can ONLY be done following an inspection by a licensed Lead Inspector. Only authorized persons can perform de-leading work, and there are different levels of authorization based on different levels of risk. Becoming authorized to perform low or moderate risk de-leading yourself can significantly reduce the overall cost of de-leading.
- Low Risk De-leading:
Low risk de-leading includes activities like removing and replacing hinged components like doors or shutters; covering loose paint; or chemical encapsulation. Property owners can become authorized to perform low risk de-leading work by reviewing training materials provided by CLPPP and completing and returning a self-graded test. CLPPP will issue you an authorization number to perform low risk deleading.
- Moderate Risk De-leading:
Moderate risk de-leading includes piece-by-piece component removal and making small amounts of loose paint intact. Property owners can become authorized to perform moderate risk de-leading work by completing an 8-hour training course and passing a CLPPP examination, or by becoming a licensed de-leader. After completing the training, you will receive an authorization number from CLPPP.
- High Risk De-leading:
High risk de-leading includes removal of paint/coatings (ex: scraping or stripping); making large amounts of loose paint intact; and demolition. Only licensed de-leader contractors are authorized to perform high risk de-leading work. To become a licensed deleader, you must complete a CLPPP approved training course and pass the exam; take an occupational physical; and receive your license number from CLPPP.