Overview: Lead in the Built Environment

Lead is a highly toxic metal. It was commonly used in paint in buildings built before 1978 as well as in other household, industrial, and automobile products. Too much lead in the body, or lead poisoning, can cause serious and permanent health problems. Children and pregnant women are at special risk. In children, lead can cause permanent damage to the brain, kidneys, and nervous system. Lead can slow down growth, development, and learning, and cause behavior problems. In pregnant women, lead can increase the risk of miscarriage and cause babies to be born too early, too small, or with learning or behavior problems. In adults, lead can cause high blood pressure and result in decreased fertility in men.

Lead poisoning can be prevented when homeowners, tenants, and contractors know how to reduce or eliminate exposure to lead dust, deteriorated (chipping or peeling) lead-based paint, lead-contaminated soil as well as what danger signs to look for.

If you think you or a family member have been exposed to lead, call your health care provider right away. Even if you or your family member doesn’t feel sick, tell your health care provider that there may have been exposure to lead. For additional information, please contact the Healthy Homes Lead Poisoning Prevention Program at 802-863-7220 or 800-439-8550 (toll-free in VT).

Learn more about lead poisoning prevention

Lead in Vermont

The Asbestos and Lead Regulatory Program works to protect and promote the physical and environmental health of Vermonters from lead exposure. We strive to prevent exposure of the public to lead in workplaces, buildings, and housing associated with maintenance, renovation, and lead abatement activities.

Through outreach we educate the public about state and federal lead laws. Through our enforcement and compliance inspection process, we conduct random and for-cause inspections of maintenance, renovation, and abatement projects, to ensure compliance with applicable regulations. Our goal is to carry out our mission efficiently, effectively, fairly, and professionally with respect and dedication to all Vermonters.

Find fact sheets, information about renovation and abatement, regulatory requirements and forms, and national links for:

Included below are resources and materials from the Health Department, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR).

Title Description
Lead-Safe Work Practices List of lead-safe work practices for pre-1978 buildings and structures
Occupational Health and Safety Standards (OSHA) for Lead OSHA standards for lead exposure for workers
Lead Information—EPA Learn about lead, learn how to protect your family, or find a lead-safe certified contractor.
Lead Hazards and Lead Poisoning in Your Home Web page with infomation about sources of lead in your home: paint, soil, drinking water, and in vintage, antique, and salvaged materials
Lead Information—ATSDR Information from the ATSDR on the health effects of lead
Vermont Lead Law and Real Estate Transactions Summary of seller's obligations
Essential Maintenance Practices and the Vermont Lead Law Fact sheet about Essential Maintenance Practices for rental target housing property owners
Lead Hazards in Housing Fact sheet summary of sources of lead hazards found in homes


Contact Information

Asbestos and Lead Regulatory Program 
108 Cherry St., PO Box 70
Burlington, VT 05402
Phone: 802-863-7220 or
800-439-8550 (toll-free within VT)
Fax: 802-863-7483