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Lead-Free Housekeeping

Many homes built prior to 1978 were most likely painted or made with lead-based products. Paint chips, dust, and lead pipes are primary sources of lead poisoning, especially during remodeling. If your home falls into this category have your home tested for lead and your family tested for exposure. You can use the following tips to help reduce the incidence of lead poisoning in your home.

Cleaning Supplies

  • Latex or rubber gloves
  • Dust mask (optional)
  • Paper towels
  • All-purpose cleaning solution or lead-dust detergent
  • Heavy-duty garbage bags
  • Bucket
  • Sponge and mop
  • Hepa filter vacuum

Note: Dispose of or clean supplies often to reduce further contamination of your home.

Before Cleaning

  • Young children, pets, and pregnant women should vacate the area until cleaning is completed.
  • Check areas for peeling or flaking paint especially door frames, window ledges, and stairways. Be sure these areas are secured before cleaning.
  • Never eat, drink, or smoke until the cleaning process is complete, to prevent consumption of lead residue.
  • Wear gloves and clothing that can be easily washed or disposed of. Use a dust mask to help prevent further exposure to lead dust.

Cleaning and Housekeeping Tips

  • Pick and stick to a frequent cleaning schedule to help regularly remove lead from your home (i.e. once a week).
  • Clean eating surfaces after each meal and wipe down meal preparation surfaces before cooking.
  • Keep toys, clothes, towels, etc. in proper places to make cleaning easier and lessen dust accumulation.
  • Vacuum carpets and furniture.
  • Wet-wipe (mop or cloth and water/cleaning solution) hard surface floors, tabletops, windowsills, televisions, computers, bed frames, shelves and other surfaces that accumulates dust.
  • Wash toys often to remove dust and debris, especially if it sits on the floor or on a shelf.
  • Encourage visitors and family members to remove shoes outside or near the doorway. Place a doormat on both sides of an entry way to every entrance into the house and wash them often.
  • When cleaning, use disposable towels and change or wash mop heads regularly.
  • Dispose of dirty cleaning water in the toilet, rather than the sink (near food preparation areas), tub (where it may come in contact with people), or outdoors (where it can pollute the environment).
  • If a person works with lead or in the outdoors work clothes should be removed outside the home and washed separately from other laundry.
  • If you plan to remodel your home or extensive lead levels are found contact an EPA-certified lead safe contractor to help remove the lead from your home.
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