Cornell Cooperative Extension Albany County is committed to providing education and trainings on lead poisoning prevention. Listed below are several resources and opportunities, most of which are free.
EPA Certified Renovator Courses (EPA Lead Renovation, Repair & Painting Trainings)
For contractors, tradespeople, landlords, and individuals interested in becoming an EPA certified renovator, Cornell Cooperative Extension Albany County is accredited by the EPA to provide certification to participants successfully completing the Lead Renovation, Repair, & Painting Initial course and the Lead Renovation, Repair, & Painting Refresher course. Currently, classes are offered three to four times a month in Albany, Rensselaer, and Schenectady counties. There is no charge for the RRP I or the RRP R trainings, however pre-registration is required. Funding is provided by Albany County Department of Health, Rensselaer County Department of Health and Schenectady County Public Health Services.
Nancy: NKL1@cornell.edu or 518-765-3521
Free Home Lead Inspections are available……
The Albany County Department of Health, the Rensselaer County Department of Health (in conjunction with Cornell Cooperative Extension Rensselaer County), and Schenectady County Department of Public Health Services all offer free home lead visits. In addition to the lead inspection, free educational materials and cleaning supplies are provided. For more information contact:
Albany County Department of Health……………………………………...518-477-4620
Rensselaer County Department of Health…………………………………518-270-2640
Schenectady County Department of Public Health Services……....…518-386-2818
Before we knew how harmful it could be, lead was used in paint, gasoline, water pipes, and many other products. As a result lead can now be found in the dust in some homes, in paint, in soil around our homes, in drinking water, and in some dishes and pottery.
The greatest exposure to lead in our current environment is the lead-based paint found in older homes. Before 1978, household paint often contained lead, especially the paints used for trim areas such as windows, doors, and railings. As the paint ages, it can chip or crumble into dust. Remodeling projects also increase the amount of exposure as the paint is disturbed. See also other sources of lead.
Lead poisoning occurs when an individual breathes or ingests the lead. The lead then enters the blood and accumulates in the body over time. Continual exposure causes the levels of lead in the body to increase causing symptoms of lead poisoning to develop gradually. By the time physical symptoms are visible the amount of lead in the body has reached a dangerous level.
Lead is highly toxic and exposure to it can be dangerous, especially for children who are 6 or younger. Young children are at particular risk of lead poisoning because their bodies are developing rapidly and they frequently place their hands, toys, and other objects in their mouths.
Lead poisoning is not easy to detect. Sometimes no symptoms occur, and
sometimes the early symptoms are the same as those of more common
If not detected early, children with high levels of lead in their bodies can suffer from:
Find out if your child has elevated blood lead levels. You can test your child for lead poisoning by asking your pediatrician to do a simple blood test or by contacting your county health department.
Cornell Cooperative Extension Albany County offers free resource information, programs and trainings on lead awareness and prevention. Contact Nancy Lerner at NKL1@cornell.edu or 518-765-3521 for more information. The National Lead Information Center offers resources via a toll-free hotline at 1-800-424-LEAD (5323).
The only sure way to know if paint, water, soil, or dishes contain lead is to test them. There are 3 ways to do this:
1. One is to use a relatively inexpensive home lead test kit available at most paint and hardware stores. These have some limitations and will tell you only if lead is present on the surface that is tested, not how much is present. In 2008, the EPA started reviewing home lead test kits for accuracy and has recognized some as being reliable when used properly. Their findings can be found on the EPA website.
2. The second is to take or send a chip or sample to a New York State Certified Laboratory (List can be found on the left sidebar). Contact the lab first for their preferred sampling technique. When many different surfaces of a room or building are being tested, it is advisable to hire a certified Lead Risk Assessor or Lead Inspector to ensure that proper sampling technique is being used.
3. The third is to have an on-site inspection and testing done using an XRF (X-ray fluorescence) tester. A lead inspection means a surface-by-surface investigation to determine the presence of lead-based paint and the provision of a report explaining the results of the investigation. This should be done by a certified Lead Inspector or Risk Assessor.
Last updated February 20, 2020