Checking for lead paint in North Dakota home

BISMARCK, N.D. - If your home was built before 1978, there is a good chance the walls may have lead paint.

The state Health Department says most lead poisonings in North Dakota are caused by exposure to dust from old lead paint.

According to NDDOH, more than HALF of North Dakota homes may have lead paint. Sandi Washek in the Division of Air Quality at NDDOH says there are many ways to prevent lead poisoning.

What can look like just chipped paint, may be something more serious.

"In homes that are built prior to 1978, there's a good chance that there's lead based paint in the home,” said Tran Doan, Home Rehab Coordinator at Community Action in Bismarck.

How to find out if there is lead in your home? It's a process that not just anyone in North Dakota can check for or completely remove.

"So when we work on those homes we have to do an inspection and then we have to hire someone to do a risk assessment," said Doan.

"They are required under law to be trained as lead safe work practices contractors and the firms and have to have a license or certification through EPA that they are certified they are able to do that work," said Washek.

If the contractor or renovator hasn't gone through safe work practices training or isn't using EPA test swabs, you should be on high alert.

"Only certified renovators can do it because it's more than just scratching the surface of it, they have to go all the way through the layers," said Washek.

Washek warns you need a certified risk assessor and inspector to come in and they can give you proper recommendations on how to treat the lead that may be in your home. They can take paint chips or XRF analyzers which will be analyzed.

It's not cheap, but there are other options such as those provided by Community Action Program.

Washek and Doan say homes with babies, small children and elders are more likely to be affected but good house cleaning is a way to prevent it from becoming hazardous

For more information on lead in homes, you can go to www.ndhealth.gov and to see if you are eligible for help from the community action program, log onto cap7.com or call Community Action for information on applications.