P.O. Box 1677, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73101-1677

Fact Sheet


DEQ realizes that choosing the right lead-based paint (LBP) professional to work in your home is a very important decision. According to EPA and HUD, as many as 64 million homes nationwide contain LBP. That translates into approximately three-quarters of the nation's housing built before 1978.

The Centers for Disease Control report that even though lead poisoning is preventable, 1.7 million children have elevated blood lead levels. Lead dust can be ingested by hand-to-mouth activities. Children under six years of age are particularly susceptible. Once absorbed into the body, even low levels of lead exposure may cause learning disabilities, IQ deficits, decreased growth, hyperactivity, impaired hearing, behavioral problems, and brain damage.

The good news is that LBP poses little risk if it is properly managed and maintained! If LBP is present in a home and is allowed to deteriorate, the health of the occupants can be threatened. However, once identified and if properly maintained, LBP poses little risk to occupants. Therefore, hiring a certified LBP Inspector or Risk Assessor can help provide valuable information about LBP to allow the owner or potential buyer to make an informed decision. As of November 1, 1996, Oklahoma state law requires that LBP Inspectors and Risk Assessors be certified by DEQ prior to performing inspections or risk assessments.

Identification of deteriorating LBP and its potential hazards can be accomplished through two types of evaluations: Inspection or Risk Assessment. Simply put, the difference between these two types of evaluations is that an inspection determines if lead is present in paint, what the concentration of lead is in paint and where the leaded paint is located. On the other hand, a risk assessment identifies the presence or absence of LBP hazards, their source, severity, and recommends options to control those hazards.

The property owner or potential buyer should choose the type of evaluation that is most beneficial, depending on his or her unique needs!

An inspection is conducted when one simply wants to determine where lead-based paint is located. A lead-based paint inspection is beneficial prior to:
Remodeling, renovation, or repainting
Sale of property/turnover
Abatement of lead-based paint

A risk assessment is conducted when one wants to determine if any potential hazards exist from the presence of lead-based paint. It is beneficial in the following cases:
Interim controls
Insurance (documentation of lead-safe status)
Sale of property/turnover



LBP Inspector



LBP Risk Assessor


Measures concentration of lead in paint through a surface-by-surface investigation

Determines exact locations of lead-based paint

Does not determine whether paint presents an immediate hazard

Does not offer any guidance on lead hazard control

Does not take dust or soil samples (except in cases of clearance inspections)


May perform all Inspector duties plus:

Focuses on deteriorated lead-based paint

Identifies lead-based paint hazards

Considers resident and owner use patterns

Considers management and maintenance practices that will affect the paint

Identifies existence, nature, severity, source, and location of hazards

Presents options to control hazards

May take dust and soil samples

The combination of an inspection followed by a risk assessment will reduce time spent on evaluations and offer more comprehensive advice. If the home is in good condition and it does not likely contain LBP, a limited type of risk assessment called a "lead hazard screen" may be more economical. During a lead hazard screen, the Risk Assessor conducts less sampling but uses more sensitive criteria for hazard identification. If any lead hazards are present, a full risk assessment should be performed.

Whether an inspection or risk assessment is chosen, be careful to hire only those Inspectors or Risk Assessors that are DEQ certified. DEQ certification ensures that the professional has been trained and has successfully completed an exam regarding proper procedures for inspections and risk assessments. A list of Certified Lead-Based Paint Inspectors and Risk Assessors may be obtained from DEQ. For further assistance, you may contact the Air Quality Division's Technical Resources & Projects Section at (405) 702-4100, or write to P.O. Box 1677, Oklahoma City, OK 73101-1677.

March 23, 1999

This publication is issued by the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality authorized by Mark S. Coleman, Executive Director. Copies have been prepared at a cost of $0.0035 each. Copies have been deposited with the publications clearinghouse of the Oklahoma Department of Libraries.