Frequently Asked Questions about Lead Inspections

Posted on: August 5, 2010

Safe and Healthy Homes

Safe and Healthy Homes is a primary prevention partnership linking parents and resources in an effort to abate lead hazards before toddlers begin crawling and exploring the home environment.  Safe and Healthy Homes is funded by the Environmental Protection Agency and the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Who can request a home lead inspection?

Home inspections can be requested by the owner of the property, a tenant or physician.

How can I ask for a lead inspection?

Lead inspections can be requested by a tenant or owner by calling 311.  Physicians may request a lead inspection by faxing in a form to their local health department.

What occurs during a lead inspection?

Once the inspection is requested, the health department will schedule an appointment.  When they arrive, they will inspect the entire property for lead hazards (chipped and peeling paint) and for other violations.  Please note that once the inspection process has begun, the health department will inspect and ticket for all hazards it locates whether or not they are associated with lead paint. The owner of the property will be required to make repairs and will be subject to fines.  Owners may qualify for assistance through the Chicago Department of Public Health.

Is there any assistance available for landlords?

Yes.  The Chicago Lead Safe Homes Initiative has limited funding to assist low-income homeowners. Call 312/746-7810 for more information.

Can I make repairs myself?

Disturbing lead paint creates a large amount of lead dust and may increase the risk of lead poisoning for a child. In most cases, lead hazards can only be abated by licensed workers and contractors. If you are going to remodel yourself, learn about lead-safe work practices at one of the free lead-safe work trainings held by the Chicago Department of Public Health. Call 312/747-LEAD for more information.

Does my landlord have to tell me if there is lead paint in the house?

Yes. Landlords are required to tell tenants about lead paint in their home. According to Federal Law, properties built before 1978 require written notice of any known hazards and distribution of a federally approved pamphlet. In addition, the elimination of lead hazards in all residential housing is required by Chicago City Ordinance Chapter 7-4.

If you have more questions, please contact the Metropolitan Tenants Organization at 773/292-4988 or the Chicago Department of Public Health Lead Poisoning Prevention Program: 312/747-LEAD [5323]

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For more information about lead poisoning prevention and the Safe and Healthy Homes Project, please contact:

Jennie Pinkwater
Director, Prevention Projects
1400 W. Hubbard
Chicago, IL 60642
312/733-1026, ext 213
Fax: 312/733-1791
jpinkwater@illinoisaap.com