Lead is a highly toxic metal that was commonly used in paint in pre-1978 housing. Too much lead in the body, or lead poisoning, can cause serious and permanent health problems for anyone, but children and pregnant women are at special risk. Lead poisoning can be prevented.
In 1978, lead was banned in house paint. About 70% of Vermont homes were built before 1978 and likely contain lead-based paint. Over time, lead paint on surfaces crumbles into invisible dust that contaminates homes and soil. Dust or soil clings to hands, toys, and objects that children put in their mouths. Young children are at highest risk because their developing bodies absorb lead more easily. Children can also be exposed to lead by eating, chewing or sucking on lead-painted objects such as windowsills or furniture.
- Provide tenants with Protect Your Family from Lead in Your Home booklet
- Post an approved notice asking people to report chipping, flaking or damaged paint
- Complete Essental Maintenance Practices (EMPs) annually
- Attend an approved EMP training class or ensure that anyone who performs EMPs on the property has completed the class
- Sign and file an annual compliance statement certifying that EMPs have been done
- Provide a copy of the compliance statement to tenants, insurance carrier and the Health Department at least every 365 days
EMPs must be completed annually, and include:
- Inspecting the property inside and outside
- Identifying areas where paint is in poor condition and promptly fixing it by using lead-safe work practices
- Verifying the installation of low-cost inserts in window wells in all wooden windows
- Removing any visible paint chips on the ground outside the building
- Performing a specialized cleaning in common areas
- Taking precautions when remodeling to prevent the spread of lead dust
The Vermont Lead Law (V.S.A. Title 18, Chapter 38, §1751) prohibits unsafe work practices that increase the risk of lead exposure including removing lead-based paint by:
- Using a heat gun, water or sand blasting
- Dry scraping
- Power sanding
- Chemical stripping
The law requires using lead-safe work practices including:
- Limiting access to work areas
- Using plastic dust barriers
- Wearing protective clothing
- Using water to dampen painted surfaces or debris before disturbing them
- Protects children: Simple ongoing maintenance practices prevent children from being exposed to lead.
- Protects property owners: Property owners who follow the law receive increased liability protection.
- Protects workers: Using lead-safe work practices reduces workers’ exposure to lead.
- Saves money: By reducing children’s exposure to lead, property owners may avoid the high cost of abatement that could be required in the case of a lead-poisoned child.
The Vermont Lead Law extends beyond rental housing. There are state and federal laws that relate to child care providers, schools, residential property owners, and owners of public, commercial, and industrial buildings and structures built before 1978. Learn more
An EMP training class is offered around the state by trained instructors. This free, four-hour class helps participants to:
- Comply with the Vermont Lead Law
- Understand the health effects of lead exposure
- Learn ways to protect children from exposure to lead
- Know how to perform EMPs safely
- Identify work practices that increase the risk of lead poisoning
The Vermont Housing & Conservation Board’s Lead-Based Paint Program provides financial and technical assistance to income-eligible landlords and proprty owners to reduce the risk of lead poisoning caused by lead-based paint hazards. Call 802-828-5064 or 800-290-0527 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If your property is in Burlington or Winooski, the Burlington Lead Program of the City of Burlington provides similar assistance. Call 802-865-LEAD (5323).
- You should receive a copy of the Protect Your Family from Lead in Your Home booklet and a copy of the most recent EMP compliance statement before your lease starts.
- A notice with contact information should be displayed in a place that is easily seen by you and other tenants.
- Your landlord or someone else who has taken the EMP training class should perform EMPs every year
- You should receive a copy of the EMP compliance statement every year.
If you feel like your landlord has not done either of these things, please:
- Talk to your landlord about it first.
- Report a violation to the Health Department if you can't resolve the issue with your landlord by calling the Asbestos and Lead Regulatory Program at 802-863-7220 or 800-439-8550 (toll-free in VT) or email AHS.VDHEnvHealth@vermont.gov.
Tell your landlord if you see any deteriorated paint on the inside and outside of the building. This includes any chipping, flaking, peeling, chalking, cracking or damaged paint or any visible paint chips on the ground.