NC STATE Home Page NC STATE UNIVERSITY - Environmental Health and Safety 2620 Wolf Village Way Cmpus Box 8007, Raleigh NC 27695  Phone 919.515.7915 FAX 919.515.6307 NC STATE Home Page

Management of Paint Containing Lead


Clean up and waste


To provide guidance on the management of painted surfaces on campus, reduce the risk of exposure to lead, and ensure compliance with NC Occupational Safety and Health regulations.


The requirements of this policy apply to all University employees.  It also applies to contractors and their subcontractors who have been hired to work on campus.


There are many buildings on campus that were built before 1977 when the Consumer Product Safety Commission started restricting the amount of lead in residential paint to 0.06% by weight or less.  There are areas on campus that have surfaces covered with paint that contains 0.5% or more of lead by weight, which is commonly refereed to as lead-based paint.  While lead-based paint is a hazard to small children, the Center for Disease Control knows of no cases where adults have been poisoned by simply inhabiting a building containing this material. 

Lead-based paints can be managed in place as long as they are maintained.  Older paint that is in good condition or that has been painted over with newer paint is not a concern.  Moisture problems or water leaks can cause paint to fail and start peeling.  Problem areas such as these should be identified and brought to the attention of the maintenance staff.

There are also areas on campus that have surfaces covered with paint that contain less than 0.5%, but more than 0.06% of lead.  This paint does not met the definition of lead-base paint, yet it contains lead in amounts that can cause an excessive occupational exposure to air-born lead dust if certain activities are performed on it.  Manual scraping, sanding, or demolition of a structure covered with this paint can generate air-borne lead dust at levels that exceed the occupational Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) for lead.


Any University structure built before 1978 must be presumed as having paint containing lead until proven otherwise.  All paint containing lead must be properly maintained and repaired if damaged.  Precautions must be taken to avoid disturbing painted surfaces during routine maintenance, repair, and renovation work. 


Building Occupants

The mere presence of lead-based paint in a building does not create a hazard.  The risk depends on where the paint is located, the condition it is in, the way the painted surface is treated, and the potential for human exposure.  If you work in a
building that was built before 1978 you should:

  1. Avoid any activity that would disturb painted surfaces.
  2. Pay attention to the condition of painted surfaces in your area.
  3. Report any damaged or visibly deteriorating paint to your building liaison and ask them to submit a work request to have it repaired.

If you have questions or concerns about the condition or level of lead in the paint in your area, contact Environmental Health & Safety at 515 – 8658.

Building Liaisons and Facility Coordinators

If you are responsible for a building that was built before 1978 you should:

  1. Pay attention to the condition of painted surfaces in your building.
  2. Promptly submit work requests to repair any damaged or visibly deteriorating paint.
  3. Instruct building occupants not to disturb painted surfaces.
  4. Submit a Building Modification Form for any renovation, construction, or demolition project that will disturb painted surfaces.
  5. Never hire a contractor without first having Design & Construction Services review the project.
  6. Notify all contractors biding on projects of any lead survey information.  In the absence of survey information instruct the contractor to presume lead is present.

Project Planners and Managers (outside contractors)

If you plan or manage projects that will disturb painted surfaces you should:

  1. Request from EH&S any past paint survey records of the area.
  2. Arrange for a paint survey if needed. Notify in writing all contractors biding on work of paint survey information.
  3. Include the Contractor Advisory on Lead in all construction documents.
  4. For projects that will disturb paint containing lead, request from the contractor a plan on how he will comply with the NC OSH Construction Lead Standard
  5. and prevent lead dust from leaving the work area.
  6. Verify that the work area has been thoroughly cleaned before releasing the contractor.

Maintenance, renovation, or painting staff

If you perform activities that may disturb painted surfaces you should:

  1. Attend the Lead Awareness class given by EH&S.
  2. Read and understand the NC State University Management Plan for     Occupational Exposure to Lead.
  3. Notify EH&S when planning a job that will disturb painted surfaces and      arrange for air sampling if needed.
  4. Evaluate each job for the proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE),work practices, and hygiene practices.

Clean up and waste disposal

A thorough cleaning is very important after a project that disturbs paint that contains lead.  All dust, paint chips, and debris must be cleaned up and sealed in plastic bags.  Vacuuming with HEPA filtered shop-vacs and/or wet cleaning methods must be used.

All waste such as paint chips, paint stripper residue or debris, protective clothing, and plastic sheeting must be collected and disposed of as hazardous waste.  Contact EH&S at 515 – 6864 for information on disposal of lead related waste.

This information is intended as a general guideline only.  EH&S has available information from the National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) on specific work practices and control measures.  Contact EH&S at 515 – 8658 for any issues related to lead.