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Environmental Health

Lead Hazard Prevention -- Code Requirements and Resources

What are my responsibilities in lead hazard prevention?

You are required by local, state, and federal regulations to prevent lead hazards by:

  1) Maintaining your property in good condition and free of lead hazards, and

  2) Performing remodeling, repairs, and other construction work in a way that will not create lead hazards


How can I maintain my property in good condition and free of lead hazards? In San Francisco most lead hazards are found in the paint and soil. Some prevention methods include, but are not limited to the following:

   1) Maintaining the top layer of paint in good condition so that the lower layers of lead- based paint are not exposed. Painted surfaces must not be chipped, peeling, blistering, flaking, worn, chalking, alligatoring, cracking, or separating from the substrate. Damaged lead paint layers create lead dust hazards.d

   2) Replacing wood window sashes, jambs, and stops that were painted before 1979 or reducing friction between these painted components. The paint on these parts rubs off when windows open and shut, depositing lead-contaminated paint dust on the exterior and interior window sills.d

   3) Covering bare soil to prevent children and pets from being able to touch the bare soil. Common methods of covering the soil include laying down grass, cement, or 3-4 inches of new lead-free top soil. Ask a landscape or gardening professional what would be best for your area.d

   4) Replacing brass plumbing fixtures.d

   5) Sealing or replacing old bathtubs where the baked enamel is damaged.d


When remodeling, repairing, or doing other construction work, how can I prevent lead hazards?

   1) As required by law, hire only those contractors who have at least a certification from USEPA (as a Certified Renovator). You may also want to hire a contractor with an additional certification, the Lead Supervisor/Worker certification issued by the California Department of Public Health. These contractors have received more thorough training and examination.d

   2) Ensure that tenants are notified of the upcoming work and signs are posted by the contractor so that the tenants do not enter the work area.d

   3) Create a separate pathway for the contractor from the work area to the outside.d

   4) Turn off the HVAC systems and cover openings.d

   5) Ensure that the contractor has enclosed the work area securely so that dust from the work stays within the work area.d

   6) Ensure that before the construction work ends, the contractor has cleaned the area to remove all debris and dust.d

   7) Ensure that your contractor follow all other requirements of the San Francisco Department of Building Inspection and the USEPA for doing construction.d


Can I or my staff do our own construction work?

Yes, but your maintenance staff and their employer must be, at minimum, certified by USEPA as a Certified Renovator and as a Certified Firm. Call USEPA at 1(800) 424-LEAD, or go to

Is there financial assistance for fixing lead hazards on my property?

Yes, contact Fix Lead SF at

Why is it better to proactively prevent lead hazards than to receive a violation notice for having lead hazards?

Maintaining painted surfaces using lead-safe work practices avoids more costly fixes required if repairs to damaged paint are deferred. Also, if your contractor has not used lead-safe work practices, then cleaning up the lead-contaminated dust spread throughout the property may require more expensive cleaning.

What are some of the requirements if I do receive a violation notice?

If you receive a Notice, you will have to correct the lead hazards under a deadline. You will be required to correct the hazards by hiring a contractor with two certifications (USEPA-certified Renovator and Lead Certification from California Department of Public Health). Then you will need to hire an independent lead inspector certified by the California Department of Public Health to conduct and pass a Clearance Inspection before the San Francisco Department of Public Health will clear your violation notice.

Where can I go for more information and assistance?
San Francisco Department of Public Health, Children's Environmental Health Promotion

Provides general information of the topics outlined above.

(415) 252-3888

San Francisco Department of Building Inspection

Provides the safe work practices and notification requirements for any type of construction or demolition work that disturbs lead- based paint on pre-1979 buildings or steel structures to prevent the creation of lead hazards. (415) 558-6220

California Department of Public Health, Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Branch

Provides a list of CDPH-certified contractors for lead-related construction activities. (510) 620-5600

United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA)

Provides information on USEPA requirements for Certified Renovators and methods for doing construction work to prevent lead hazards. 1-(800) 425-LEAD

Fix Lead SF

Provides funding to remove lead from certain building components with lead-based paint and correct uncovered soil with lead. (415) 252-3888 or email