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Exterior Lead Paint Removal Program

Lead is a highly toxic metal that was used for many years in products found in and around our homes, including paint. Because of health concerns, lead and lead compounds were banned from house paint in 1978; from solder used on water pipes in 1986; from gasoline in 1995; from solder used on food cans in 1996; and from tin-coated foil on wine bottles in 1996.

The program starts with serious consideration to these important facts about lead:

  • Lead paint dust is DANGEROUS!
  • Lead poisoning is a serious environmental health hazard.
  • Most houses in Rhode Island built before 1978 contain lead based paint.
  • Renovating lead-painted surfaces creates hazardous dust, fumes, and debris if removed improperly.
  • Lead poisoning can arise from exposure to lead- based paint chips, as well as dust produced, during preparation work for repainting.
  • According to the Rhode Island Department of Health: Lead, even at low levels, can cause children to have learning disabilities, lower IQ, and behavioral problems.
  • Lead can also cause: High blood pressure, anemia, brain damage, impotence, and death.

Research suggests that the primary sources of lead exposure for most children are:

  • Lead contaminated dust (it can form when lead-based paint is dry scraped, dry sanded, or heated at high temperatures) (NOTE: Lead dust is the # 1 cause of lead poisoning, not paint chips. It takes less dust than can be found in a packet of sugar to poison)
  • Deteriorating lead-based paint
  • Lead contaminated residential soil

Contact Us

Department of Environmental Management
Division of Air Resources
235 Promenade Street
Providence, RI 02908-5767
Telephone: (401) 222-2808



Contractor Certification Program Documents

This is now managed by the Rhode Island Department of Health:

DEM Regulations