In the U.S., lead-based paint is defined as any paint that contains lead in amounts equal to/greater than 1.0 milligrams per square centimeter, or 0.5 percent by weight of the dried product. Studies have shown that lead is an environmental and health hazard, and exposure to lead-based products can lead to lead poisoning. Lead poisoning is associated with symptoms such as brain/nerve/internal organ damage, and other conditions. Exposure usually occurs through breathing or swallowing lead particles.

What Are Some Lead-Based Paint Disclosure Laws?

One of the main problems with lead-based paint is that some homes built prior to the current regulatory laws still contain lead-based paint. Rather than requiring homeowners to remove the paint, laws require homeowners to disclose the presence of lead-based paint that is known in the home they are selling.

A main law is the 1996 Lead-Based Paint Disclosure Regulation. This requires persons who own homes built prior to 1978 to disclose the presence of lead based paint to all potential renters or buyers of the property. Sellers must also allow buyers a period of time to inspect the home for lead based paint if they wish (usually a 10-day period).

Are There Any Other Lead-Based Paint Disclosure Laws?

In addition, lead based paint disclosures may be required for sales of other items such as:

  • Children’s toys
  • Certain types of furniture
  • Jewelry items

For instance, paint in children’s toys cannot exceed .009 parts per million. Retailers can be held liable for selling toys that don’t meet these requirements, or for selling defective products.

What Are some Penalties for Lead-Based Paint Disclosure Laws?

Penalties for lead-based disclosure laws may include fines. In serious cases, jail time may be required, depending on the circumstances. In many cases, a person injured by lead paint may file a civil action against the homeowner or retailer. For instance, if the homeowner failed to disclose the presence of lead-based paint in a home, and a subsequent tenant got lead poisoning, they may file for damages against the seller.

Do I Need a Lawyer?

Lead-based paint disclosure laws can sometimes be difficult to fully understand, especially when it comes to the date of a home. You may wish to hire a consumer lawyer if you need help understanding your rights and obligations under lead-based paint disclosure laws. Your attorney can provide you with legal advice, and can also represent you in court if you need to attend a hearing.