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Lead FAQ’s: What is the difference between an inspection and risk assessment? An inspection is a surface-by-surface investigation to determine whether there is lead-based paint in a home or child-occupied facility, and where it is located. Inspections can be legally performed only by certified inspectors or risk assessors. Lead-based paint inspections determine the presence of lead-based paint. It is particularly helpful in determining whether lead-based paint is present prior to purchasing, renting, or renovating a home, and identifying potential sources of lead exposure at any time. A risk assessment is an on-site investigation to determine the presence, type, severity, and location of lead-based paint hazards (including lead hazards in paint, dust, and soil) and provides suggested ways to control them. Risk assessments can be legally performed only by certified risk assessors. Lead-based paint risk assessments are particularly helpful in determining sources of current exposure and in designing possible solutions. You can also have a combined inspection and risk assessment.  With any of these options, the risk assessor or inspector will provide you with a written report of findings. Why should I have my home inspected or assessed for risks? Your child has been diagnosed as having lead poisoning. The most common home-based source of lead exposure is deteriorating lead-based paint and the resulting dust. You live in a home built before 1978 where small children are or will be living. You are about to remodel or do anything that will disturb lead-based paint or generate lead-based paint dust and chips that can harm you and your family. You are renting or buying a home. When buying a home, federal law allows the purchaser the opportunity to conduct testing to determine whether lead-based paint or lead-based paint hazards are present. This is especially important if you have (or plan to have) young children in the home. Learn your rights before buying  a home. (Opens in new tab) You are concerned about possible lead exposure to you, your family and pets, or visitors. Some local jurisdictions now REQUIRE lead inspections if you are a property owner that rents your space. You should contact your local governing agency regarding lead based paint related questions. How can lead affect my health or the health of my children? The effects of lead are the same whether it enters the body through breathing or swallowing. The main target for lead toxicity is the nervous system, both in adults and children. Long-term exposure of adults to lead at work has resulted in decreased performance in some tests that measure functions of the nervous system. Lead exposure may also cause weakness in fingers, wrists, or ankles. Lead exposure also causes small increases in blood pressure, particularly in middle-aged and older people. Lead exposure may also cause anemia. At high levels of exposure, lead can severely damage the brain and kidneys in adults or children and ultimately cause death. In pregnant women, high levels of exposure to lead may cause miscarriage. High-level exposure in men can damage the organs responsible for sperm production. We have no conclusive proof that lead causes cancer (is carcinogenic) in humans. Kidney tumors have developed in rats and mice that had been given large doses of some kind of lead compounds. The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has determined that lead and lead compounds are reasonably anticipated to be human carcinogens based on limited evidence from studies in humans and sufficient evidence from animal studies, and the EPA has determined that lead is a probable human carcinogen. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has determined that inorganic lead is probably carcinogenic to humans. IARC determined that organic lead compounds are not classifiable as to their carcinogenicity in humans based on inadequate evidence from studies in humans and in animals. {Source:}