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What Is Your Lead Risk?

Explore the Lead Paint-Safe Housing Database to understand where lead is a significant problem in North Carolina.

What Is the Lead Paint-Safe Housing Database?

The biggest source of children’s lead exposure is lead-based paint in older housing. The NC Lead Paint-Safe Housing Database is a database of residential housing units built after December 31, 1977, when the federal ban on lead in residential paint went into effect. These houses are presumed to have been built without lead-based paint. However, lead hazards from other sources, such as soil and water, may still be present. You should not assume that a house listed as “Lead Safe” in the database is entirely free of lead hazards.

How to Use the Map

  • Read and accept the disclaimer to view the map
  • Enter a residential address into the search bar to see what year the house was built and its lead safe status. The lead safe status applies to lead-based paint only. It does not include other sources of lead.

Lead Safe: Residential housing units built after December 31, 1977 that are presumed to have been built without lead-based paint. “Lead Safe” does not currently included properties where lead has been removed.

Lead Status Unknown: Housing units built on or before December 31, 1977 that may or may not have been built with lead-based paint. Nonresidential parcels will also appear as “unknown” in the NC Lead-Based Paint Housing Database.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the risks associated with lead exposure?

Lead is a toxic metal that comes from the ground. It can be found polluting air, water, and food, as well as in everyday items like toys, spices, cosmetics, and pottery. You can’t see, smell, or taste lead. Lead exposure can affect anyone, but it is especially harmful to pregnant women and children under the age of six because their bodies and brains are still developing. Even at very low levels of exposure, lead can harm a child’s ability to concentrate and focus in school. It even reduces intelligence and can increase aggression. These effects are often permanent. Cleaning up sources of lead is important to protecting all children’s healthy growth.

Lead is most often found in neighborhoods with older housing, where old paint is exposed and lead pipes are still in use. When old paint is flaking off or in poor condition, lead gets into the house dust and everyone is exposed – especially young children. 

If my house was built after December 31, 1977 and is listed in the database as “lead safe,” can I be certain that my child will not be exposed to lead?

A “lead safe” status does not mean that your child will never be exposed to lead. Houses listed in the registry as “lead safe” are assumed to have been built without lead-based paint. While lead-based paint is a big source of children’s lead exposure, it is unfortunately not the only source. Lead can be found polluting air, water, and food, as well as in everyday items like toys, spices, cosmetics, and pottery. Children can also be exposed to lead outside of their home, such as at their school or daycare center. For this reason, it is still important to talk to your child’s doctor about testing your child’s blood lead level even if your house was built after 1978 and is listed in the registry as “lead safe”.

If a house built before December 31, 1977 is listed in the database as “lead status unknown,” how can I figure out if it has lead hazards?

You can hire a certified lead inspector to test your home for lead hazards. For a list of a certified inspectors, see the “Other Resources” section below. If an inspector identifies lead-based paint in your home, you will have to share that information with potential buyers or renters when you sell or lease your home.

Where do the data come from and how often is the database updated?

The information in North Carolina’s Lead-Based Paint Housing Database comes from county tax assessors, who collect information on the properties within their county, including housing age. At this time, houses listed as “lead safe” in the database do not include houses where lead has been temporarily fixed or completely removed.

About the Database: North Carolina’s Lead Safe Housing Database was developed by NC Child with support from the Duke Environmental Law and Policy Clinic, the NC Department of Health and Human Services, NC Healthy Homes, and the UNC Institute for the Environment.

The information in the database is compiled from tax maps, property record cards, and other public records maintained by North Carolina counties. It does not include the results of paint testing conducted by certified lead professionals.

Disclaimer: Database users are advised that their use of any information in the database is at their own risk. Access to the database is provided as a public service and is not intended to constitute a legal record or be substituted for the services of a certified lead professional. Database users are hereby notified that the expertise of a certified lead professional and the aforementioned public record sources should be consulted to verify the information presented.

Take action if you are concerned about your family's lead risk