In general, the older your home, the more likely it has lead-based paint. Many homes in Maryland built before 1978 have lead based paint. In 1978, the federal government banned lead-based paint from housing. Lead can be found in any home, inside and outside the house, in soil around a home. (Soil can pick up lead from exterior paint, or other sources such as past use of leaded gas in cars.)
Lead is most likely to be a hazard in paint chips, which you can see, and lead dust, which you can’t always see. Lead-based paint that is in good condition is usually not a hazard. Peeling, chipping, chalking, or cracking lead-based paint is a hazard and needs immediate attention. Lead-based paint may also be a hazard when found on surfaces that children can chew or that gets a lot of wear and tear, These areas includes: windows and window sills, doors and door frames, stairs, railings and banisters, and porches and fences.
Lead dust can form when lead-based paint is dry scraped, dry sanded, or heated. Dust also forms when painted surfaces bump or rub together. Lead chips and dust can get on surfaces and objects that people touch. Settled lead dust can reenter the air when people vacuum, sweep, or walk through it. Lead in soil can be a hazard when children play in bare soil or when people bring soil into the house on their shoes.