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Lead Concerns During Renovations for a Healthy School Environment

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Why It's Important

  • The most common lead hazards in schools are lead-based paint, lead dust and contaminated soil. Other lead sources are older plumbing fixtures, vinyl mini-blinds, painted toys and furniture using lead-based paint.
  • Lead is highly toxic and exposure can be dangerous, especially for children six or younger.
  • Low levels of lead in blood have been associated with behavioral problems, learning disabilities and impaired growth. Very high blood lead levels can cause severe neurological problems such as coma, convulsions and even death. 

What You Can Do

  • Make lead safety part of the school's renovation plan, including worker training beforehand and testing during and after renovation. Hire a lead-safe certified firm.
  • Implement a program for reducing lead in drinking water as part of the school’s overall plan for reducing environmental threats.
  • EPA's National Lead Information Center and Hotline provides information on hazards associated with lead, as well as training, brochures and links to regional sources. Call the Lead Hotline at (800) 424-LEAD [5323]. 


EPA and Federal Partners

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National Organizations

  • Lead Safety in Schools: Resource List by the National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities offers an annotated list of links, books and journal articles on lead hazards in paint, soil and water; managing lead in schools; and lead safety and school modernization.
  • Lead Paint is addressed by the Campus Environmental Resource Center provides information for staff, administrators or faculty looking for resources to better understand environmental regulations, find relevant contacts, seek model practices, track news or build and manage better environmental programs.

State and Local Entities

  • Lead-Safe Schools Project at the University of California–Berkeley trains and certifies construction workers in California on occupational lead exposure, symptoms of lead poisoning, how to abate lead hazards, how to use respirators and what other precautions to take to prevent lead exposure. The webpage includes the Lead-Safe Schools Guide.
  • Lead-Safe Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) Rule for Schools and Child Daycares on the Massachusetts Office of Labor and Workforce Development website describes the state rule and links to helpful materials to address lead safely.