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Before you tear down a wall, rip off old woodwork, or strip old paint, ask yourself when it was installed. If it was before 1978, it may include lead paint.
Listen to BOB VILA ON LEAD PAINT REMOVAL or read the text below:
Lead is extremely dangerous to inhale, especially for children and pets, so don’t start demolition unless you’re sure there’s no lead involved. If you have any doubt about it, get the area you plan to demolish tested for lead.
If the test is positive and you’re planning to do the work yourself, contact your local building department first. There are rules about lead-safe demolition and disposal of debris even for private homeowners. Sometimes it makes sense to hire an EPA-certified contractor for even a small job. Doing it yourself you may be a bigger headache than you bargained for.
If you’re hiring contractors to do the job, find out if they’re certified by the EPA to do lead-safe demolition. If they’re not, find someone who is. The process is strictly regulated now, and violations carry stiff fines. Lead-safe demolition can seem pretty dramatic, with workers in hazmat suits and masks. But it’s worth it to make sure the job is done right.
Bob Vila Radio is a newly launched daily radio spot carried on more than 75 stations around the country (and growing). You can get your daily dose here, by listening to—or reading—Bob’s 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day.
For more on paint, consider: