October 1996 Edition

Disclosures Of Lead Hazards Becomes National Law 

How will the new Lead Disclosure Law affect selling homes built before 1978?  
The new regulation will require real estate agents and sellers of dwellings built before 1978 to disclose their knowledge of lead hazards, to provide purchasers with information on lead, and to afford them an opportunity to investigate lead hazards before a contract is ratified. Owners of more than four dwellings must comply with these requirements beginning on September 6, 1996, while owners of fewer than four dwelling units, or most homeowners, have until December 6, 1996 to comply. 
Lead-Based Paint Hazards in Housing  
Lead poisoning is a preventable but potentially devastating disease that affects 1.7 million American children aged one to five - nearly 9% of all preschoolers. Most of these children have chronic low-level lead exposure that can cause permanent damage to the brain, IQ loss, learning disabilities, and behavioral problems. At very high levels, now rare in this country, lead poisoning can cause coma, convulsions and death. Most lead poisoning cases are the result of children being exposed to lead hazards in their homes.  
One way to help prevent lead poisoning is to give families the information they need to evaluate whether the home they intend to purchase has lead hazards. This enables purchasers to make informed decisions about their housing and about protecting their children’s health. 
In 1978, the U.S. government banned the use of lead-based paint for residential use. Paint with lead levels above thresholds determined by the federal government is considered “lead-based”. Although some lead-based paint is found in over 80% of pre-1978 housing, its mere presence is not a hazard. Properly maintained and managed lead-based paint poses little health risk.  
Lead hazards, however, pose a potential immediate risk especially to young children and pregnant women. According to the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992, also known as “Title X”, lead-based paint hazards include:
  • Deteriorated lead-based paint
  • Lead-contaminated dust
  • Lead-contaminated soil
  • Lead-based paint on surfaces that can rub, bind, or are subject to impacts potentially creating lead dust (windows, doors, baseboards)  
  • Lead-based paint on surfaces that can be mouthed by young children (low window sills or chair rails). 
New Federal Lead Disclosure Requirements 
In March of this year, in accordance with Title X, the federal government published regulations that require new lead disclosure activities in all residential housing built prior to 1978 before a sales contract can be binding. Real estate agents and sellers involved in home sales share the responsibility for meeting these new requirements:
  • Seller must disclose surfaces known to contain lead-based paint and lead-based paint hazards and provide available reports to buyers.
  • Sellers must give buyers a copy of the federal pamphlet -Protect Your Family From Lead In Your Home or an EPA-approved state version. This pamphlet discusses lead hazards, lead inspections and risk assessments, and how to remedy lead hazards.
  • Home buyers will get a 10-day period during which time they may obtain a lead-based paint inspection or risk assessment at their own expense.
  • Sales contracts must include certain notification and disclosure language. 
The regulation does not require purchasers to investigate lead hazards, nor does it require sellers to take any specific action to fix lead problems. Instead, it is designed to provide home buyers with more information on lead hazards and give them the option of further investigating if lead-based paint or lead hazards exist. If a lead evaluation reveals lead-based paint or lead-based paint hazards, nothing in the law requires the seller or purchaser to correct the condition or remove lead paint.  
Although not required, the expectation is that purchasers will opt to include language making their sales contract contingent upon a satisfactory lead evaluation. In this case, the seller and purchaser would treat the lead evaluation results just like other housing deficiencies identified during a home inspection. Contract language can be included to specify in detail how both parties may respond if lead hazards are detected.  
For copies of the federal pamphlet, Protect Your Family From Lead In Your Home, the sample lead disclosure form, or the new lead exposure rule call (800) 424-LEAD; Internet address: pamphlet - http://www.epa.gov/docs/lead_pm/,  sample form - http://www.nsc.org/ehc/nlic/ledsampl.htm and disclosure rule - http://www.nsc.org/ech/nlic/disclose.html.

Source: The ASHI Reporter, September 1996

Lead In Drinking Water  

Does the new Lead Disclosure Law require testing of drinking water?  

The new regulation does not require any testing or disclosure in regards to drinking water.   

Lead in drinking water, although rarely the sole cause of lead poisoning, can significantly increase a person’s total lead exposure, particularly the exposure of infants who drink baby formulas and concentrated juices that are mixed with water. EPA estimates that drinking water can make up 20 percent or more of a person’s total exposure to lead.  

 Lead is unusual among drinking water contaminants in that it seldom occurs naturally in water supplies like rivers and lakes. Lead enters drinking water primarily as a result of the corrosion, or wearing away of material containing lead in the water distribution system and household plumbing. These materials include lead-based solder used to join copper pipe, brass and chrome plated brass faucets, and in some cases, pipes made of lead that connect your house to the water main (service lines). In 1986, Congress banned the use of lead solder containing greater than 0.2 percent lead, and restricted the lead content of faucets, pipes, and other plumbing material to 8.0 percent.   

If you are concerned about lead in your drinking water, have your water tested to determine if it contains excessive concentrations of lead. If you think your plumbing might have lead in it: run your water for 15 to 30 seconds before drinking it, especially if you have not used your water for a few hours.

If you have a question, change of address, comment, home tip or would like to send Home Tips to your clients, send your letter to Home Tips, Christian Building Inspectors, Inc., 3697 Habersham Lane, Duluth, Georgia 30096. You can E-Mail your questions to us at rodharrison@christianbuildinginspectors.com. We reserve the right to edit questions for length.


Home Gas Sentry AC-powered Carbon Monoxide Detector. May not alarm to indicate dangerous level of carbon monoxide.

Six thousand detectors, imported and distributed by Stanley Solar & Stove, Inc., of Manchester, N.H. sold between 2/88 and 5/96 for $80.00, with “Gas Sentry” on front. Green “Power” light and red “Alarm” light appear in center of unit. Company name, date of manufacture and manufacturing number appear on sticker on back of detector. 


(With Home Inspection Only)

Site Test $10.00/Sample

Results: Immediate, Reliability: Good

Lab Test $65.00/Sample

Results: 3-4 Days, Reliability: Excellent

Quote of the Month



A Tip Of The Hat To:

Roy Holman

Re/Max of Atlanta

Duluth, Georgia

**** Thank You****