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About Lead - Home Improvement Commission


Comply with the Lead Law
Anyone who acts as a supervisor or contractor for the purpose of abating lead paint shall be accredited by the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE). Workers who perform purposeful lead abatement shall be trained by a training provider approved by MDE.

Lead paint abatement work includes any activity that eliminates or reduces lead paint hazards, including paint removal, replacement of components, encapsulation, or repainting. Examples of people who provide lead paint services include inspectors, trainers, workers, and supervisors.

Accreditation: Anyone, or any business, that serves as a lead paint contractor, supervisor, inspector, risk assessor, or training provider must be accredited by the State of Maryland. An individual must pass an examination and provide proof of relevant experience. Applications and fees for accreditation are submitted to the MDE Lead Accreditation and Oversight Division.

Training: Anyone who engages in a lead paint abatement service under the supervision of an accredited supervisor must successfully complete a training course that has been accredited by the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE).

A person performing maintenance, repair, or renovation work involving the disturbance of at least six   square feet of lead paint in a residential rental dwelling unit constructed prior to 1950 must follow certain State lead-safe work practices found at COMAR 26.16.01.

The federal Pre-Renovation Lead Information Rule, also known as section 406(b) of the Toxic Substances Control Act, requires people performing renovation for compensation in a pre-1978 home to distribute a lead hazard information pamphlet prior to commencing the renovation.

Although Maryland lead law does not cover contractors doing maintenance or renovation work in an owner occupied pre-1978 dwelling unit, the contractors need to exercise safe lead work practices since they can generate lead contaminated dust. The contractor whose work causes lead poisoning may not be subject to enforcement action by MDE, but he/she may be judged as liable in a lawsuit for damages to the health of any person poisoned in the dwelling unit.

Do Not Use Unsafe Methods
Burning, dry sanding and dry scraping of lead paint are prohibited by Maryland lead paint abatement regulations.

  • NEVER BURN LEAD PAINT WITH AN OPEN FLAME TORCH. Burning produces very high levels of lead dust and fumes.
  • DO NOT DRY SAND OR DRY SCRAPE LEAD PAINT. Dry sanding or scraping a leaded surface produces very high levels of lead dust.

Work Safely with Chemicals
When using any chemical stripper, follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully. Any product that is strong enough to remove paint will probably be harmful to humans if not used properly. Use strippers that contain methylene chloride only for touch-up work in well-ventilated areas.

For more information, contact MDE's Lead Accreditation and Oversight Division at (410) 537-3825 or log on to the MDE website. For general information and further links or MDE Inspectors and Contractors Information for specific information about contractor requirements.

Are You Planning to Buy, Rent or Renovate a Home Built Before 1978?

  • Lead poisoning is the number one preventable environmental health hazard affecting children.
  • Homes built before 1978 may contain lead paint.
  • Homes built before 1950 likely contain lead paint.
  • Dry scraping, dry sanding and burning lead paint may release dangerous lead dust.
  • Small amounts of lead dust can cause serious health problems in young children and pregnant women, including, behavior and learning disabilities, brain damage and death.
  • For information on safe renovation techniques and lead poisoning, please refer to the following sources of information: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; USEPA lead information hotline: 1-800-424-LEAD; Maryland Department of the Environment: 1- 800-776-2706.

El envenenamiento con plomo

El envenenamiento con plomo es el peligro ambiental evitable número uno para la salud de los niños. Las casas construidas antes de 1978 pueden tener pintura de plomo.

  • Las casas construidas antes de 1950 muy probablemente tengan pintura de plomo.
  • Raspar en seco, lijar en seco y quemar la pintura de plomo puede liberar polvo de plomo peligroso.
  • Las cantidades pequeñas de polvo de plomo pueden provocar problemas severos de salud en niños pequeños y mujeres embarazadas, incluyendo trastornos del aprendizaje y del comportamiento, daño cerebral y muerte.

Para obtener información sobre las técnicas seguras de renovación y sobre el envenenamiento con plomo, consulte por favor las siguientes fuentes de información: U.S. EPA; la línea especial de información sobre el plomo de la Agencia de Protección del Medio Ambiente de los EE.UU. (USEPA): 1-800-424-LEAD; Departamento del Medio Ambiente de Maryland: 1-800-776-2706.