lead education

Lead Education

Cornell Cooperative Extension Albany County is committed to providing education and trainings on lead poisoning prevention. Listed below are several resources and opportunities...

EPA Certified Renovator Courses (EPA Lead Renovation, Repair & Painting Trainings)

  • RRP Initial (RRP I)
  • RRP Refresher (RRP R)

Contractors, landlords, and workers disturbing a painted surface in a pre-1978 home or child occupied facility…

Avoid the possibility of a $37,500 fine AND receive a national certification from the comforts of your home!

Cornell Cooperative Extension Albany County offers FREE EPA Certified Renovator trainings. See training dates below.

Funding is provided by Albany County Department of Health, Rensselaer County Department of Health and Schenectady County Public Health Services.

Upcoming EPA RRP I and EPA RRP R lead trainings:

July 2024

Register online:

Fax: 518-765-2490
Or contact:
518-765-3529 | ark249@cornell.edu
838-202-0742 | neb87@cornell.edu


Free Home Lead Inspections are available……

The Albany County Department of Health, the Rensselaer County Department of Health 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……………………………………...518-447-4620

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 illnesses.
If not detected early, children with high levels of lead in their bodies can suffer from:

  • Damage to the brain and nervous system
  • Behavior and learning problems, such as hyperactivity
  • Slowed growth
  • Hearing problems
  • Headaches
  • In rare cases of acute lead poisoning from ingestion of lead, children can suffer seizures, coma and even death.

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.

The only way to know for sure if lead is in your home -- in paint, water, soil, dishes, etc -- is to test for it...

What You Should Know About Lead

  • Lead paint was banned in U.S. residential paint in 1978.
    (It was banned in France and many other countries prior to 1920.)
  • Three-quarters of the nation's housing contains lead paint.
  • Lead poisoning is a serious disease.
  • Children under six are most at risk.
  • Children from every region, race, and socioeconomic level are at risk.
  • Lead poisoning causes learning and developmental disabilities.
  • There are usually no symptoms.
  • Even children who appear healthy can have dangerous levels of lead in their blood.
  • Lead poisoning is preventable.
  • Most lead poisoning happens at home.
  • The primary cause is tiny particles of lead dust from deteriorated paint or from painted surfaces disturbed during remodeling, repair or renovation.
  • Lead dust is invisible, so tiny in fact that it passes through most masks & filters.
  • Lead poisoning affects adults as well as kids.

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).

Testing for Lead in Your Home

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.

Find a US EPA certified lead renovation, repair, and painting business. (Only businesses are listed on the EPA website. Individual renovators are not listed.)

Last updated July 12, 2024