Is it Fix-Up Time at Your House?

Tips for safely dealing with lead paint

If your home was built before 1978, it may contain hazardous lead paint. Before you start planning your spring home repair and/or remodeling projects, the Onondaga County Health Department’s Lead Poisoning Control Program would like you to consider the following questions:

  • Was your house built before 1978?
  • Will you be working on painted surfaces?
  • Have you had the paint tested to see if it is lead-based paint?
  • Are you planning on hiring someone? Are they EPA Lead Certified?
  • Do you know what safety precautions you or your repair man should use to protect yourself and your children from hazardous lead paint/lead dust?
  • Do you qualify for a lead home repair grant?


The Stand interviewed Rashida Mims, a mother of nine, in the Spring of 2015 for a special project on housing in Syracuse. She lives in a home with lead paint in an unsafe neighborhood. Read her story at


Remodeling projects, home repairs, and normal wear and tear of painted surfaces like opening and closing windows and doors can create lead dust, which you cannot see.  Young children and pregnant women are especially at risk for exposure to lead paint and lead dust.

When remodeling an older home, we want you to WORK SMART, WORK WET and WORK CLEAN. It is important to follow these safety steps:

  • Keep pregnant women and children out of the work area
  • Enclose the work area using heavy plastic (6 mil)
  • Use a spray bottle to wet an area before sanding or scraping
  • Avoid eating or drinking in the work area
  • Wear a mask and wash your hands often with soap and water
  • Clean up the work area using wet cleaning methods, only use a HEPA vacuum, carefully fold up used plastic, place it in a sealed garbage bag and put in the trash.

Let’s treat our homes, not our children. Call today to get more information about:

  • Childhood lead testing
  • Free home lead inspections
  • Safely remodeling your home
  • Lead paint home repair grants
  • EPA Lead Safe Worker training requirements

For more information, call 435-3271, visit us online or email us at


— Guest Article contributed by  Ann Barnett, Onondaga County Health Department