These are some brief answers to common questions asked of inspectors. It is not all inclusive and is only meant to help answer a few questions you may have.
Why is it necessary to have a lead inspection?
Lead based paint in your home can cause a wide range of health problems. Lead is particularly dangerous to children under 6. Elevated levels of lead in children can cause learning disabilities, permanent brain damage, and numerous other medical conditions including death in severe poisoning cases. If there is a child under 6 years old residing in a home built prior to 1978 it is required to be lead compliant.
If my house is tested, I am afraid it will have a "stigma"
This is a common question heard by inspectors. The fact is in Massachusetts, if your house is built before 1978, it is assumed you have lead paint and the Lead Law applies whether it has been tested or not. Massachusetts is also a “Strict Liability” state, which means that homeowners may be liable for criminal and/or civil violations. In cases of child lead-poisonings homeowners may be sued for medical expenses, special education costs, potential lost lifetime earnings, and many other damages, even if it is unknown.
I Have my inspection, now what?
To receive lead compliance the next step in the process is to have all the surfaces identified as hazards on your lead report corrected. It is crucial that you have the work done by authorized people. For an inspector to be able to perform a re-inspection, there must be documentation that the work was done by authorized people.
Who are authorized people?
Authorized people refer to either licensed deleaders or lead-safe renovators*. Home owners or somebody that does work for them (referred to as the owner’s agent) can get authorization to do the work themselves. To get an authorization number, the homeowner or their agent must take a one day training course to receive an authorization number to perform moderate-risk deleading.
* RRP Lead Safe Renovators must take an additional 4-hour course to do moderate risk deleading work in Massachusetts.
Are there resources to help pay for deleading?
Some cities and towns offer grants and/or low interest financing for deleading. Start by contacting your city or town to find out if they offer any services. Mass Housing has the Get the Lead Out program which can be found at www.masshousing.com or by calling (617) 854-1000. Another useful site is www.massresources.org. Information for Lead Paint Removal Programs can be found in the Housing Programs/Homebuyer-Homeowner Programs section.
What is the state tax credit?
Homeowners are eligible for a state tax credit of up to $1500.00 per unit for full deleading and $500.00 for interim control measures. Please contact the Massachusetts Department of Revenue or a tax professional for more information about the Lead Paint Removal Tax Credit.
What are the risk levels for deleading?
Low-risk deleading refers to methods of deleading that do not disturb lead paint. This includes but is not limited to covering, capping, and encapsulation. A homeowner or somebody that does work for them (referred to as their agent) can get low-risk authorization by contacting the Massachusetts Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program (CLPPP) at their website at www.mass.gov/dph/clppp or by calling (800) 532-9571. The requirements to receive low-risk authorization are to receive and read an informational booklet and to answer a short questionnaire and return it to CLPPP. They will then mail you your authorization. Encapsulation requires a separate training booklet as there are surface assessments and surface testing involved. Tenants do not need to be temporarily housed elsewhere for low-risk deleading, they just need to be out of the work area or out for the day during low-risk activities.
Moderate-risk deleading refers to methods of deleading that will disturb existing lead paint. This includes but is not limited to removing, replacing, reversing, and making a surface intact. If moderate or high risk deleading takes place in the interior of the unit, tenants and their pets must be temporarily housed elsewhere, until a passing re-inspection and passing set of dust wipes are taken. A homeowner or somebody that does work for them (referred to as their agent) can get moderate-risk authorization by taking an 8 hour training course. For information about taking the moderate-risk training contact the Massachusetts Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program (CLPPP) at www.mass.gov/dph/clppp or by calling (800) 532-9571.
High-risk deleading refers to methods of deleading that disturbs a significant amount of lead paint. This includes but is not limited to scraping, demolition, and making large areas intact. Since high-risk deleading creates a hazardous condition, it can only be performed by licensed deleaders. A list of licensed deleaders can be found at the Massachusetts Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program (CLPPP) at www.mass.gov/dph/clppp or by calling (800) 532-9571.