TIP OF THE MONTH - March 2014
Source: Environmental Issues in your Real Estate Practice
Marie S. Spodek, DREI,GRI with Bill Magargal
WHAT IS LEAD?
Lead is a heavy, soft, malleable, blue-gray metal found either as a
natural ore or a by-product of smelting silver. In its natural
state, lead is not a problem. Once processed however,
it is a part of the environment forever. There is no known way to
dispose of lead nor a method to render lead harmless.
Easy to find and easy to manipulate, lead has
been used continuously and extensively for more than seven
centuries. Some historians have suggested that the decline of the
Roman Empire was brought on by undetected lead poisoning. Greeks
determined that lead is a poison, but early doctors continued to use
lead as a medicine.
From the beginning of the Industrial Revolution
through the end of W.W. II, lead usage intensified. During this
time, lead was found in just about all aspects of daily life:
electrical storage batteries, ammunition, gasoline, wooden window
weights, building construction, roofing, cornices, solder in electrical
conduit, and water and sewer pipes.
In its most extensive use was as a pigment in
paints, and sometimes in varnishes and primers. Today we live
with that legacy.
WHAT EFFORTS HAVE BEEN MADE TO BAN THE USE OF LEAD?
By the end of W.W. II, public health officials
became increasingly aware of the poisonous effects of lead on humans
and pushed hard for reductions in lead usage. Eventually, this
resulted in the banning of lead in gasoline in the early 1970’s and
from paint in 1978.
At the present time, Title X of the Housing and
Community Development Act of 1992, know as the Lead-based Paint Hazard
Reduction Act (LBPHRA), seeks to control exposure to lead-based paint
hazards. Federal funds are available to assist states in
developing training and certification programs for anyone providing
testing or remediation services. The Act is a major step for the
federal government. It is the first time that the feds have
become involved with residential real estate transfer, and it
specifically mentions protecting children under the age of six. (6)
WHO MUST COMPLY WITH THESE REGULATIONS?
The law puts the burden of compliance on sellers
and lessors, requiring them to disclose any prior test results or any
actual knowledge of lead-based paint hazards. If a real estate
licensee is involved, then the listing agent must advise sellers of
their obligations to make the required disclosures. Any other
agents involved in the transaction (subagent, buyer’s agent,
facilitator) are also responsible for seeing that the owners
comply. The only agents who are exempt are buyer’s agents who are
paid entirely by the buyer.
Records should be kept for a minimum of three years for completed transactions.
REMEMBER: No one has to test; no one has to abate.
This web page was updated on 02/27/2014.