Do-it-yourselfers are not obligated to follow regulations for lead-safe practices, as professional paint contractors must. But if your home was built before 1978, when lead paint was banned for residential use, you should protect yourself and your neighbors from airborne lead particles.

The first step is to test for lead paint: Kits are available at paint and hardware stores. If tests prove positive for lead, keep paint dust to a minimum by taking the following precautions.

  • Lay plastic drop cloths and collect scrapings.
  • Clean area with a vacuum.
  • Wear masks and suits.
  • Dispose of all materials at an approved hazardous materials site.

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