Where you may find lead-based paint

Homes built before mid-1970s and particularly before 1940 are most at risk of containing lead-based paint.

But even newer houses, sheds and fences may have interior or exterior surfaces or structures that were painted with old lead-based paint. Renovations like removing walls, replacing ceilings, flooring and carpets can mobilise dust that may contain lead-paint dust or flakes from previous renovations.

It is not possible to know if paint has lead in it by its appearance alone.

You should assume all houses contain lead-based paints if they were built:

  • prior to the mid-1970s
  • up to the 1940’s it is especially hazardous because there was so much lead used in paints at that time
  • after the mid-1970s can still be a risk if old house paint, industrial or marine paint has been used.

Lead may be present in both topcoats and undercoats and particularly on surfaces like:

  • exterior walls, doors and windows
  • rooves, gutters, pipes and fittings
  • sheds and garden furniture
  • interior walls, skirting boards and fittings
  • ceiling spaces, wall cavities, under floors, in carpets due and in the soil due to lead dust and paint flakes from previous renovations.

In the past, lead-based paint has also been used on:

  • cars and boats
  • old furniture, including baby cots and garden chairs and benches
  • children’s toys, particularly old inherited toys, collectible lead soldiers or those bought from markets, garage sales or overseas
  • artist or hobby paints

Follow the six step guide (PDF 856KB) if any of these items are restored, renovated or used by young children.

sources of lead around the house