Lead is a heavy, bluish-grey metal that is found as mineral deposits in the earth. Lead has been mined and made into many products for thousands of years. It is used in batteries (the lead-acid vehicle battery the most common example), in ammunition, pipes and various metal products, solder and various electrical equipment, and for radiation shielding. Lead compounds are found in paints and in certain types of glass and ceramics. Up until 1991, one of its most important uses was as an anti-knock additive in gasoline.
The concentrations of lead in paint for residential structures have declined over the decades and in 1978 the Consumer Product Safety Commission established a standard of 0.06% lead for residential paints. Although most residential paints today contain no lead, over 80% of homes built before 1978 have lead paint in them. Older homes have even greater risk because the paint may be chipping or peeling, and there may be high levels of dust contaminated with lead. These types of lead contamination issues may present a health risk – especially to children, who can suffer learning disabilities, hearing impairments, and behavior problems when exposed to elevated levels of lead.
Removing or disturbing old paint from interior or exterior surfaces by sanding, scraping, abrading or other means may produce dust, debris or fumes that contain lead. Exposure to lead dust, debris or fumes may cause adverse health effects in both children and adults. Structures built before 1978 should be tested by a licensed inspector prior to removing or disturbing old paint.
Lead Paint on Campus
The purpose of the lead paint management program at UCSC is to establish policies and practices to protect people, the environment and ensure compliance with the regulations designed to mitigate lead hazards. Proper lead management will safeguard the health and safety of workers and building occupants, minimize potential negative impacts to the environment, and ensure adherence to the various regulatory issues concerning lead in University facilities.
Lead Paint Resources on the Web
Beginning in October 2008, contractors performing renovation, repair and painting projects that disturb lead based paint must provide tenants, occupants and/or clients the following pamphlet:
EPA Renovate Right: Important Lead Hazard Information for Families, Child Care Providers and Schools
How to comply with latest EPA renovation rule including tenant notification information and contractor training requirements:
EPA Small Entity Compliance Guide to Renovate Right