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QUESTION: Landlord exposed my young family and pets to lead paint in extremely poor condition for three years. 08/01/09   Queensland, Australia

I have been renting an old Queenslander house for three years. The paint has been in very poor condition for our entire tenancy, flaking and peeling off all the walls. Only when painters came in to quote on painting inside and out, was the paint tested and showed high concentrations of lead. As we are now vacating the real estate are insisting that we clean the walls of the house before leaving. What should we do to avoid contaminating us any further? I think a campaign to alert real estate agents about the dangers of lead paint in older houses and their responsibilities to tenants would be a fine idea. The real estate and the landlord would not do anything about it as the job would have been too big to do while we were in the house. In the meantime they were fine to expose my young family and pets to lead paint in extremely poor condition for three years.

Thanks

ANSWER: January 14 2009

Dear Madam,

you are assuredly correct in calling for a lead education campaign for landlords and real estate agents. The best thing for you to do now is to ask the doctor for blood lead tests for everyone in the family but especially any child who is old enough to crawl or older. I'd be very keen to hear the results and then we can discuss next steps.

All the best

Yours Sincerely

Elizabeth O'Brien 

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