Lead Based Paint

Background Information

Lead is a highly toxic, naturally occurring, metal that was used for many years in products found in and around our homes. The most likely place to find lead is in paint (LBP). Lead was added to paint as pigment and to speed drying, increase durability/longevity, and to resist moisture and corrosion.

Because of its toxicity, LBP containing more than 0.06% lead was banned for residential use in 1978 by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Generally, the older the paint, the higher the lead content. Paint with significant lead content is still used in industry and by the military. For example, LBP is sometimes used to paint roadways and parking lots.

LBP in good condition is not dangerous to building occupants and can be maintained in place. LBP poses a threat when it is in poor condition, or when it is disturbed during renovation or demolition activities.

Lead Based Paint on a Windowsil

Health Effects

Lead may cause a variety of health effects in children including: 

  • Behavioral problems
  • Death
  • Learning disabilities
  • Seizures


Children six years old and under are most at risk, because their bodies are growing quickly. Research suggests that the primary sources of lead exposure for most children are: 

  • Deteriorating lead-based paint
  • Lead-contaminated dust
  • Lead-contaminated residential soil


Lead is also harmful to adults. Adults can suffer from: 

  • Difficulties during pregnancy
  • Digestive problems
  • High blood pressure
  • Nervous system disorders
  • Reproductive problems (in both men and women)


Federal and state regulatory standards exist to minimize or eliminate the amount of lead in air, drinking water, soil and occupational settings. City of Flagstaff Environmental Management staff are responsible for ensuring City operations and facilities are in compliance with federal and state regulations pertaining to lead.

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