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Property Owners

As a property owner, it is important for you to be familiar with lead, lead poisoning, and the MA Lead Law.

Lead Poisoning
Lead poisoning is when there is too much lead in the blood. Babies and children are most at risk for lead poisoning because their bodies are smaller and their bodies and brains are developing quickly. They are​ typically exposed to lead in the following ways:
  • Paint​: Most Boston homes were built before 1978, which means they may have lead paint. Lead dust and chipping paint are the most common way for children to be exposed to lead. The Massachusetts Lead Law requires that property owners remove lead paint hazards from a home where a child under 6 years old lives, and requires that your child be screened once a year from ages 9 months to 4 years.
  • Water: Service lines made of lead can be a source of lead exposure through corrosion of plumbing materials. To learn whether your home's service line contains lead, check out the Boston Water & Sewer Commission's lead service line map.​
  • Consumer products like toys, toy jewelry, and folk medicines may also contain lead, though this is more rare today than in the past.
For more information about lead and lead poisoning, click here.

The Massachusetts Lead Law

  • The Massachusetts Lead Law requires that any home built before 1978 where a child under the age of 6 lives be made lead safe by removing or covering any lead paint hazards.
  • Lead paint hazards include loose lead paint and lead paint on windows and other surfaces accessible to children. 
  • Property owners are responsible for complying with the law. If a child is poisoned by lead hazards in their primary residence, the property will be held responsible.
  • Property owners cannot evict or refuse to rent to anyone because of lead paint in their dwelling unit. It is discrimination if you do not rent to someone because your property has a lead hazard.
  • If you do work on your home, it must be done safely. Property owners must either hire someone with training in lead-safe practices or receive training in moderate risk deleading.
For more information on your responsibilities as a property owner, check out our fact sheet, available in English, Spanish, Portuguese, Haitian Creole, Vietnamese, and Chinese.

Don't know how to remove lead? We can help!

  • Training on Moderate Risk Deleading: We provide free training to property owners or agents on moderate risk deleading. Doing the work yourself can significantly reduce the overall costs of eliminating lead in your property, but you can only do so with the proper training. Click here for the training schedule and here for the training application.
  • Training on Lead-Safe Practices: BPHC provides trainings for contractors on safe lead removal, which satisfies the DLS certification requirement. Click here to access the lead safe removal training schedule, and here for the training application.

Lead in Water

  • The Boston Water and Sewer Commission (BWSC) maintains the distribution of the drinking water through its water mains and also flushes water mains to improve drinking water quality for residences and businesses. 
  • To determine if your home's water contains lead, you can get your water tested by a lab that is MassDEP certified to test household tap water for lead. MassDEP certified labs reliably test water at an affordable cost. Mail-in and drop-off options are available. Visit the MassDEP Certified Lab webpage for a list of labs and helpful links.
  • Your property may have a service line (whch connects the home to the Boston water main under the street) that contains lead, particularly if it was built before 1940. To find out if your property's service line contains lead, search your address in the Boston Water and Sewer Commission (BWSC) database here.​ Property owners are responsible for the replacement of lead service lines. Boston Water and Sewer Commission provides assistance with replacement of lead service lines. For more information, visit the BWSC website or call BWSC at 617-989-7888.

Lead in Paint

  • Lead may also be found in your property's paint. 
  • According to the Massachusetts Lead Law, property owners must remove or cover all lead paint hazards in homes built before 1978 where any child under 6 years old lives. This includes rental properties. 
  • We can help you figure out if your property has lead paint by doing an inspection of your property. 
  • ​If your home has lead paint, there are financial resources available to help you abate or remove the lead paint through the City of Boston's Department of Neighborhood Development and Mass Housing's Get the Lead Out Program.

Additional Resources

Questions? Contact the Environmental & Occupational Health Division at 617-534-5965 or email leadpoisoning@bphc.org.

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Boston Public Health Commission
1010 Massachusetts Ave, 6th Floor, Boston, MA 02118.
Phone:(617) 534-5395 Email: info@bphc.org