Project Status: When you need to do this
What you need to do
Get advice and have tests done before you start
No matter what, if you are concerned your home contains lead-based paint or other materials, get advice or have tests done before you try to remove it.
Research online with these free resources
- Visit the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities website
- The department’s articles include the 6-step guide to painting your home.
- Visit the NSW Environment Protection Authority website for fact sheets and more advice.
Lead is toxic to humans, particularly children and pregnant women.
If you are renovating or repainting a home built before 1970, you may be risking exposure to lead. You could even be exposed if the old paint is flaking or chalking or has been damaged.
The older your home, the more likely it contains lead-based paint. Paints used in the 1960s contained more than 1% lead and in the 1950s, indoor and outdoor paints could contain as much as 50% lead. It wasn’t until 1970 that the lead content of paint was limited to 1%.
Risks of exposure
It’s not just the paint on your walls that can be contaminated with lead. Lead was also commonly used to solder pipes.
Household dust can also contain lead particles from deteriorating lead-based household paint, contaminated soil or dust brought into the house on your shoes or your pets' feet. Soil can become contaminated with lead by deteriorating lead-based paint or its removal. If the paint is in good condition, it may be safer to cover it than remove it.
Rainwater from water tanks may have increased lead levels if lead-containing dust has contaminated the roof or guttering, or by leaching lead from the roof and pipes.