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LEAD PAINT TESTING

Originally appeared in Haverhill Life magazine, November 2017

Massachusetts lead-paint law requires that all houses built before 1978 including owner-occupied houses must have a lead-paint certificate or letter of interim control if a child under the age of 6 lives there. Many homeowners mistakenly believe the law applies only to rental apartments.

If you live in a house that’s more than 40 years old and you have children who are younger than 6, you should contact a licensed lead inspector for a full inspection. If lead is found, you should hire a licensed de-leading contractor to remove it. After the lead hazard has been removed, the original inspector can re-inspect and provide the lead-safe certification necessary for children to live in the home. Lead inspectors and de-leaders must be state licensed.

The Massachusetts Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program (CLPPP) is the governing body that oversees this requirement. Lead poisoning in young children can result in permanent neurological damage including learning disabilities, reduced intelligence quotient, behavioral problems and impaired memory. Lead poisoning also poses a particular risk to pregnant women.

Children in Massachusetts are required to be blood-tested from ages 9 months to 4 years. The testing should be done annually and possibly monthly, depending on the child’s lead blood levels.

Lead inspections typically cost from $350 to $700. If lead is present, the work needed to attain compliance could range from $3,000 to more than $50,000, depending on many factors.

However, you may be able to save on de-leading costs by obtaining low- or moderate-risk de-leading approvals through CLPPP, which would allow you to perform some of the work yourself.

New Hampshire law does not mandate lead certification for houses occupied by children, except in cases where a child is lead-poisoned.

As of 2010, federal law requires that anyone disturbing a coated surface of a home built before 1978 must be lead-safe-renovator (LSR) certified and licensed in Massachusetts and renovate-repair-and paint (RRP) certified and licensed in New Hampshire. There is an exception to this law: You can renovate your own single-family house without the LSR or RRP certificate and license.

Keep in mind that most renovations require building permits. .

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