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All About Lead
What is lead?
Lead is a heavy, low melting, bluish-gray metal that occurs naturally in the Earth's crust. However, it is rarely found naturally as a metal. It is usually found combined with two or more other elements to form lead compounds.
Over the years, lead has been mixed with gasoline and with paint, used as solder for cans and for copper pipes, as piping for drinking water, blended with vinyl and with brass, employed as protective shielding against radiation and in the manufacture of batteries and computer components.
Why is lead a problem?
For thousands of years, lead has proven to be a very useful substance. For nearly as long, we have also known that exposure to lead causes serious adverse health effects. Lead turns up in our yards, shows up in our homes, and ends up in our landfills. It is a powerful neurotoxin, which means exposure can damage the brain. It can also injure other soft tissues and organs, can interfere with the formation of blood, and exposure to enough lead can even kill. Both children and adults are vulnerable to lead’s health effects.
What is the District Government doing about it?
- FINAL 2013 Lead Regulations and New Forms
- Schedule of Fines
- DDOE Strategic Plan for Lead-Safe and Healthy Homes [PDF]
- Enforcing lead laws to keep housing and child-care facilities safe.
- Promoting lead screening of all children under age 6 in the District. [PDF]
- Working with the families of children whose blood tests show elevated levels of lead
- Helping property owners and contractors to comply with the lead laws.
- Upcoming Regulatory Trainings
What can I do about it?
- Use a filter to remove lead from water you use for drinking or cooking.
- Use lead-safe work practices [PDF] (English and Español) when disturbing paint during home repair or maintenance.
- Get your soil tested if you have a home vegetable garden.
- Dispose of old electronics properly (Department of Public Works).
- Get trained to conduct lead-based paint activities.
- Lead-Based Paint Applications and Forms
- Certification Exam Schedule
Who can I hire?
The following list consists of the individuals and business entities certified by DDOE to conduct lead-based paint activities in the District of Columbia. Their presence on this list does not represent a statement about the quality of their work.
Lead-Based Paint Consultant Companies [PDF] (Lead inspections, risk assessment and air monitoring.)
In order to obtain a lead abatement permit, the lead abatement supervisors or lead-based paint abatement companies must have appropriate documentation such as liability insurance, DCRA Basic Business License, etc.
For more information, read the lead abatement permit requirements.
Abatement Workers [PDF]
Lead Risk Assessors [PDF]
Abatement Supervisors [PDF]
Lead Project Designers [PDF]
If you are looking for someone who is trained in lead-safe work practices and able to perform non-abatement activities such as “interim controls,” the EPA provides a list of DC-based certified firms that may be able to meet your needs. If you choose to hire one of these firms to conduct non-abatement activities involving the elimination of lead-based paint hazards in your home or child-occupied facility, please be aware that the person doing the work must have documentation that they were trained in lead-safe work practices, such as documentation proving their Certified Renovator status. Also, please remember that such documentation is not enough to qualify these individuals to conduct abatement activities. Only DDOE-certified abatement personnel are qualified and eligible to conduct lead abatement activities in the District of Columbia.
Where can I get more information?
- Water Sampling Results for District Schools [PDF]
- Tenant Rights Under the District's Lead Law [PDF] (English, Español)
- District's Lead Law (English, Español) [PDF]
- Disclosure and Instruction Forms [PDF] (English, Español)
"Renovate Right!" Tip Sheet for Preventing Lead Exposure
(English and Español) [PDF]
- What You Need to Know About Lead Poisoning (English, Español, Chinese) [PDF]
- Key Contacts and Additional Resources
- District Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) Lead Safe Washington DC
Effective August 25, 2014, DDOE office hours for processing lead certification applications will be from 8:30 AM to 4:00 PM, Monday through Thursday, and 8:30 AM to 3:00 PM on Fridays.