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Lead was used for centuries as an additive to dye materials and is known for its anti-corrosive and drying properties. Lead was used as a major ingredient in most interior and exterior oil paints manufactured before 1950. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines lead-based paint as any paint containing 0.5 percent or greater lead by weight. In 1978, the United States effectively banned lead in paint by requiring paint products to contain less than 0.06 percent lead by weight. This was further reduced to 0.009 percent lead by-weight in 2008 under the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008. Lead in paint is one of the leading causes of childhood lead poisoning through hand to mouth ingestion of lead contaminated dust in the home or in the environment.

At Tulane, lead-based paint may be found in or on buildings constructed prior to 1978. The primary routes of exposure to lead in construction and renovation activities is through the inhalation of lead contaminated dust and the inadvertent ingestion of lead contaminated dust. Lead dust may be created by scraping, cutting, or sanding surfaces that contain lead-based paint. Lead dust from lead-based paints may also be created from deteriorated paint that is pulverized into small particles. 

Lead-Based Paint Management Guidelines have been created by OEHS to support Campus Services with managing lead-based paint during construction and renovation activities that may create lead contaminated dust. The guidelines ensure compliance with federal, state, and local requirements.