By Rich Cosgrove, President Stark Trumbull Area REALTORS®

When purchasing a property, you should know there is difference between homes built prior to 1978 and after. Homes built prior to 1978 may contain lead-based paint and require a disclosure to let the prospective buyer know if the seller has any reports or records of lead-based paint on the property. In addition to the disclosure a buyer is also required to receive an EPA pamphlet titled Protect Your Family From Lead In Your Home. This pamphlet is available online at and when working with a REALTOR®, they can provide you with a printed copy.

The disclosure and pamphlet are the same no matter what seller/buyer or REALTOR® you work with. The disclosure and pamphlet are also required to be provided to tenants who rent a property built prior to 1978.

So, what is lead based paint? “Lead based paint” is currently defined by the federal government as paint with lead levels greater than or equal to 1.0 milligram per square centimeter or more than 0.5% by weight. Lead was added to paint to help accelerate the drying process. Lead based paint is usually not a hazard if it is in good condition. Areas where lead-based paint was typically used were stair rails and bannisters, porches, and most commonly windowsills. Any area that is exposed to heavy traffic or weather can cause paint to wear down and crack or chip, leading to lead exposure.

Lead is especially harmful to children under age 6 and to women who are pregnant. Here are ways to help protect you and your family from lead hazards. Always keep painted surfaces in good condition to minimize deterioration. Don’t try to remove lead based paint yourself. Regularly clean floors, window sills, and other surfaces. If you are renovating it is best to only hire an EPA or state approved Lead Safe certified renovation firm.

Lead can get in the body in many ways. Breathing in lead dust (happens most often during renovations and repairs). Swallowing lead dust that has settled on food or food prep areas as well as eating paint chips or soil that contains lead.

Lead exposure to children can cause nervous system and kidney damage, speech, language and behavioral problems as well as decreased muscle and bone growth. Exposure to adults can cause high blood pressure, nerve disorders, memory and concentration problems, digestive problems, and muscle/joint pain.

If you would like to have your home tested or have concerns of lead in your home, visit or call 1-800-424-5323. There are state and federal programs in place to ensure that testing is done safely, reliably, and effectively.

Source of information – Protect Your Family From Lead In Your Home.

The Stark Trumbull Area REALTORS® welcomes you to visit our website at for a complete listing of REALTORS® and Affiliate members who are sure to meet your professional needs.  The Stark Trumbull Area REALTORS® members are honored to service the Stark, Carroll and Trumbull Counties.

If you have any questions or comments on this article, please contact me by email at


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