San Francisco Lead Paint Ordinance
Lead-based paint poses little risk when properly managed and maintained. If improperly managed, however, it can threaten health, especially of children under 6 years old and pets. In sufficient levels, lead can also cause health problems in adults.
About 75% of the nation's housing contains lead paint, and in San Francisco the figure is over 90% , since most housing is pre- 1978 (the year that lead paint was banned). There are many laws designed to reduce lead poisoning, such as worker safety regulations, disclosure requirements for real estate transactions, abatement requirements for public housing, and restrictions on handling and disposing of lead contaminated materials. Leaded gasoline, a significant source of lead contamination, has been phased out over the past three decades.
These laws have been effective. In 1969, 88% of pre-school children had blood levels greater than 10 micrograms/deciliter, a level at which there can be damage to a child's nervous system. Today, only 8% of children have readings that high.
A recent San Francisco ordinance, effective 5 January 1998 (San Francisco Building Code Ch. 36), governs activities that disturb painted surfaces on the exterior of buildings built before 31 December 1978, and is of particular concern to homeowners when painting or removing building exteriors in San Francisco.
Owner Responsibilities: Notify tenants (Form D) and provide the EPA pamphlet "Protect Your Family From Lead In Your Home" before work begins.
Contractor Responsibilities: Provide owner with above EPA pamphlet, notify the Department of Building inspection (Form B), prevent lead paint from going beyond containment barriers, post a "Lead Work In Progress" sign if containment is needed, and remove visible lead paint chips and dust before completing work.