Low levels of lead can affect children's developing brains and nervous systems. Learning disabilities, hearing loss, and violent behavior are some of the effects that lead paint can have on young children. If your home was built before 1978, it's possible that lead paint on your walls, doors, windows and sills may still be dangerous.
The most common cause of lead poisoning is ingestion (hand-to-mouth transmission) of surface dust that has been contaminated with lead. Contaminated dust can be created as lead-based paint deteriorates or is damaged by moisture; as lead-based painted surfaces wear away through impact or friction; and through repair, renovations, or abatement. Common renovation activities like sanding, cutting, and demolition can create hazardous lead dust and chips by disturbing lead-based paint, which can be harmful to adults and children.
To protect against this risk, on April 22, 2008, EPA issued a rule requiring the use of lead-safe practices and other actions aimed at preventing lead poisoning. A rule that increased protections against lead-paint poisoning by eliminating the ability of owner-occupants of older housing to "opt-out" of having their contractors follow lead-safe work practices took effect July 6, 2010.
EPA rule requiring the use of lead-safe practices (April 22, 2008)
EPA final rule to apply lead-safe work practices (May 6, 2010)