Lead Paint Safety

What is Lead? Why is it a Serious Problem?

Lead is a toxic metal that historically was used in paint, gasoline, and plumbing. It is very dangerous for children under the age of six because lead is absorbed more readily into their blood and stored more easily in their bones and internal organs. It can damage the brain and other developing organs. Lead poisoned children can suffer from permanent learning disabilities, behavioral problems, hearing problems, developmental delays and other serious health conditions.

What is the Massachusetts Lead Law?

In accordance with Massachusetts law, any apartment unit or single family home with an occupant who is less than six years old must be deleaded. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program (CLPPP) defines deleading as the "removal or covering of lead violations." Not all lead paint must be removed or covered. After deleading is completed, homes are "lead-safe", not "lead-free."

For More Information

For additional information on the Massachusetts Lead Law please visit the Massachusetts Department of Public Health Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program (CLPPP) web site

To learn about property owner responsibilities under the Massachusetts Lead Law see this summary.

To look up the inspection history of a property, go to the Massachusetts Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program database of lead inspections. This database will help you determine if a property has ever been inspected for lead, has had lead hazards identified, and/or has a letter of compliance.

If you have additional questions about Childhood Lead Poisoning or other health questions related to lead exposure please contact the Cambridge Public Health Department at 617/665-3831.

If you have questions about Lead Paint Removal please contact the Massachusetts Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program at 800/532-9571 or 617/624-5757.