Lead Poisoning Prevention and Control Program
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. How do I get my child tested for lead poisoning?
A. It is always best to ask your family doctor to test your child. If you do not have a family doctor, you may contact 1-800-986-KIDS (5437) for assistance in locating a clinic in your local area that will provide testing for free or possibly charge a sliding fee.
Q. How do I get my home tested for lead?
A. The Department of Labor and Industry has a list of inspectors. For information, call 1-800-440-LEAD (5323). If you have any children less than 6 years old, we recommend you have their blood tested for lead.
Q. How much does it cost to have my home tested for lead?
A. Most homes built before 1978 contain some amount of lead-based paint. The Federal Government has developed guidelines for conducting inspections and risk assessments. Pennsylvania law requires that inspectors follow the federal guidelines. Costs can vary greatly from company to company.
Q. I am a landlord. How do I get my property tested for lead?
A. Lead-based paint inspections must be conducted by individuals certified by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry. Call 1-800-440-LEAD (5323) for a list of certified inspectors.
Q. I am doing some renovation work on a house, are there precautions I need to take?
A. Yes. Never use a heat gun or torch to remove lead-based paint. It is best to keep everything wet. Do wet scraping and wet sanding. Do not do any dry sanding or dry scraping. Even when removing old carpets, it is best to lightly mist it with water. Please see the EPA’s Renovate Right booklet for more information. If you are a contractor, you must become certified to work on properties that may contain lead paint. See the EPA’s Small Entity Compliance Guide handbook on the Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule. For additional information, call Pennsylvania's Lead Information Line at 1-800-440-LEAD (5323) for free, written information on conducting repairs and renovations safely.
Q. I am a contractor. Do I need to be certified and how do I become certified?
A. Yes, you must become certified to work on properties that may contain lead paint. See the EPA’s Small Entity Compliance Guide handbook on the Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule. If you are doing lead abatement or the intent of the work you are doing is to control or reduce lead hazards, you must be certified by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry. The number to call is 717-772-3396.
Q. Are there any funds available for the removal of lead-based paint from my home?
A. If you reside in one of the following high-risk communities funded by the Pennsylvania Department of Health for hazard reduction under the Lead Hazard Control Program, you may be eligible:
- Allentown City
- Bethlehem City
- Johnstown City
- Lancaster City
- Berks County
- Fayette County
The Department of Health contracts with each of these communities to assist in the implementation of the Lead Hazard Control Program. You may contact the Lead Hazard Control Program to inquire about your eligibility for hazard reduction work on your property.
If you do not reside in one of the above areas, some counties and local communities have housing programs that may have funds available for rehabilitation. It is recommended that you contact the courthouse in the county you reside in and ask to speak to the office dealing with housing. When speaking to the office, you should ask if they have programs that could provide financial assistance with the removal of lead-based paint in your home.
Q. How do I get rid of mold in my home?
A. Smooth surfaces can be cleaned with soap and water. Drywall, carpet, insulation and the like that are infected must be removed. See the mold fact sheet for more information.
Q. Could the radon levels in my house be unsafe?
A. Pennsylvania has some of the highest concentrations of household radon in the entire world. In fact, the first time radon was discovered in a home was in a Lehigh Valley residence in the 1980s. The EPA has defined a safe threshold for radon exposure. If you suspect your home may have radon, learn more at the Department of Environmental Protection’s radon webpage at www.dep.state.pa.us. They have a partnership with the American Lung Association (ALA) to provide free radon test kits to Pennsylvanians. See the section on the ALA. Or you can purchase a test kit at any hardware store for about $30. Make sure the test kit includes the lab’s testing fee.
Q. Are there any funds available to address health and safety hazards in my home?
A. The Department of Health is developing a new program to address health and safety hazards. For more information, click Lead and Healthy Homes Program.
Bureau of Family Health
Division of Child & Adult Health Services
Lead Poisoning Prevention and Control Program
625 Forster St.
7th Floor, East Wing
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17120-0701
Contact the PA Lead Information Line (LIL) at 1-800-440-LEAD (5323) for lead information and materials.