lead test kit showing evidence of lead paint on a door

In Your Home

The most effective way to find out if your home has lead paint is to use the services of a certified lead-based paint inspector or a risk assessor. An inspector can tell you if there is lead in the home and a risk assessor can tell you the extent of the hazard.

The older the home, the more likely it is that lead paint was used. This is especially true for homes built prior to 1950, but lead-based paints were widely used up to the time they were banned for residential purposes in 1978.

The presence of lead paint does not necessarily mean it's a hazard. To present a health threat, it must somehow enter the body. Paint that is well-cared for generally does not pose a danger. However, even in well-maintained homes, friction and impact surfaces, such as door jambs or sliding widows, can create fine lead dust that can be inhaled or swallowed.

Free Home Assessment

The Portland Regional Lead Hazard Control Program provides a free evaluation of lead hazards and financial assistance to reduce lead-based paint hazards in housing occupied by qualified low and moderate income households. If your household includes a child under six years old, you may be eligible for assistance. More info

Home test kits

Home test kits for lead-paint are available, but may not always be accurate. It can only tell you if lead is present on a surface. It cannot tell you how much lead there is, if there is a lead paint hazard, or what needs to be done to repair the hazard.

HEPA Vacuum Lending Program

The Community Energy Project has a sealed HEPA vacuum cleaner that you can borrow at no cost to clean up lead dust. Contact them at 503.284.6827 extension 109.

More Information

Oregon Lead Poisoning Prevention Program
Lead-safe remodeling and painting

Oregon Construction Contractors Board
License requirements for lead-based paint removal


In Toys

The large number of safety recall for toys containing lead paint has caused increasing concern about the risk of the toys to children.

Stay Informed About Toy Recalls

Parents should stay up to date on toy recalls. Oregon's state Lead Prevention program maintains a list of consumer product and FDA recalls for toys with lead hazards. They also offer email notification about new toy recalls.

Have Your Child Tested

If your child has played with one of these toys—especially if the child frequently chews on toys or puts toys in his or her mouth—you should discuss the need for a blood lead test with your health care provider. Testing your children for lead is the best way to determine if they have been exposed to lead.

Remember that while toys are one concerning source for lead poisoning, many children in the U.S. are exposed to lead through contact with old paint in housing, deteriorated paint, settled house dust and bare contaminated soil. More about other lead hazards»


Questions? Call the Leadline

503.988.4000
leadline@multco.us

Lead prevention information and referral. Spanish, Russian and Vietnamese interpreters available.