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Home Improvement Safety: Lead Resources

August is the perfect time to start thinking about home improvement projects. Before starting, it is important to do a little research on your home in order to prevent releasing hazardous waste inside or outside your home. One particular hazard that is not discussed enough is lead. Lead has been released into the environment through use of lead gasoline and lead paint. Luckily both have been banned by the federal government; although, 80% of homes in Multnomah County were built before 1978 when the ban was placed.

If your home was built before 1978 do not be alarmed! As long as the layers of lead paint are not exposed and chipping, it is not a cause for concern. The most common ways to be exposed to lead in the home is through exposure to contaminated paint, soil, or water. Luckily, there are many resources available to help you test for lead, as well as ways to mitigate potential exposure. So how do you ensure you are protecting your family? Check out a few resources below!

  1. Look up your address on www.PortlandMaps.com to see if your home or building was built before 1978.
  2. If you have never gotten your soil tested check out Growing Gardens for free soil testing! They also provide additional resources if the soil test comes back with high levels of lead.
  3. If you have not tested your tap water request a free water test kit from your water provider.
  4. If you find that lead is present in your house use a HEPA vacuum on carpets, rugs and sofas to clean up lead dust or debris. (CEP rents HEPA vacuums for free!)
  5. If you’re thinking about doing some remodeling the Oregon Construction Contractors Board has resources that help consumers find information about a contractor’s licensing and any special certifications they may hold.


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