Information for Homeowners and Renters

Environmental Health
Public Health

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    Get the Facts About Lead

    To learn about sources of lead and tips for preventing exposures, visit Lead Exposure Prevention Information​​.

    Home Renovation and Repainting Projects​​​

    Warning: Don't Create Dangerous Dust

    Renovation in older homes can disturb lead paint and put families at risk.

    Renovation, repair, and repainting projects in older homes can create hazardous lead dust. This dust can settle on floors and other surfaces where it gets on children's hands and into their mouths. If your home was built before 1978, it likely has lead-based paint.  

    Hiring a Contractor for Repair and Renovation Projects

    If you are hiring a contractor for a renovation, repair, or painting project, the contactor should follow lead-safe work practices. Contractors that disturb painted surfaces in homes, daycares, and schools built before 1978 are required to be certified to work with lead paint by the EPA.

    Do-It-Yourself Repair and Renovation Projects

    Homeowners conducting do-it-yourself renovation or repainting projects should follow lead-safe work practices to protect their family and home. Find information below to learn more about safe renovation. 

    Lead-Safe Work Practices

    Lead-Safe Practices

    • Temporarily move children, pregnant women, and pets out of a home during renovation or paint removal. If you cannot move them out, seal off the work area.
    • Cover the ground, floors, and furniture with drop cloths that can be discarded.
    • Wet down paint before you scrape or sand it.
    • A power sander should have a hood to trap dust and a HEPA vacuum attachment.
    • Thoroughly clean the area by wet wiping and wet mopping with a detergent and water before allowing children back.

    Practices to Avoid

    • Do not use a belt-sander, propane torch, heat gun, dry scraper or dry sandpaper to remove lead-based paint. These tools create large amounts of hazardous lead dust and fumes, which can remain in your home for a long time.
    • Do not sandblast or pressure wash the outside of your home if it contains lead-based paint. Even if you do not have children, these activities on the outside of your home may harm your neighbor's children.
    • Do not paint over peeling or chipping paint.

    Testing Your Home for Lead

    ​If you are concerned about lead-based paint hazards in or around your home, you may want to test your home for lead. Below is a description of different methods for testing for lead.

    Hire a Certified Inspector/Risk Assessor

    DHHS recommends hiring a Nebraska Licensed Inspector or Risk Assessor to inspect your home for lead. 

    • A paint inspection tells you the lead content of every different type of painted surface in your home. This is most appropriate when you are buying a home or signing a lease, before you renovate, and to help you determine how to maintain your home for lead safety.
    • A risk assessment tells you if there are any sources of serious lead exposure such as peeling paint and lead dust, and tells you what actions to take to address these hazards. This is most helpful if you want to know if lead is causing exposure to your family now.

    View List of Licensed Lead Inspection and Risk Assessment Firms

    Search License Information for Lead-based Firms and Individuals

    Testing Lead in Paint or Soil

    Laboratory Analysis for Paint and Soil
    Homeowners can have a paint chip or soil sample tested by an environmental laboratory. The laboratory can analyze the sample and send you reliable results usually within a few days. DHHS recommends using an accredited laboratory. To have a sample tested, call the lab and ask for directions on how to collect your sample and how to send the sample to the lab. 

    Home Test Kits for Paint
    Home test kits can be found in many hardware stores or online. Most are low cost and easy to use. They have chemicals that change color when rubbed against a surface that contains lead. Test kits can tell you if lead is in the paint you tested, but they cannot tell how much lead is present or if it is a hazard. These kits are considered less reliable than other methods. It is important to read and follow the instructions on the test kit. 

    Testing for Lead in Water​

    For drinking water testing, homeowners can order a test through the Nebraska Public Health Environmental Laboratory.​

    Information for Renters

    Before signing a lease for housing built before 1978, federal law requires landlords must disclose the presence of known lead-based paint and/or hazards in the dwelling. Renters must also receive a federally-approved pamphlet regarding lead poisoning prevention. 

    • If you have a concern about lead in your unit, ask your landlord to get a lead hazard inspection from a certified inspector before signing your lease.