My recently purchased circa 1900 Victorian house sheds paint flakes when it rains. To try to remedy this I had it repainted, and although the painting crew put in a decent effort into cleaning up after themselves there are now even more paint chips laying around than before.
Being as old as this house is, is I am sure there is lead in that paint. I did make sure to tell them it was probably lead paint and they hand-scraped rather than using power tools. I have scoured the Internet for cleanup procedures but almost everything is on preventing lead paint from getting everywhere (it's too late for that) and on interior cleanup, except for one section on this Minnesota DoH website. Do you have any additional advice on cleanup?

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    It would be rare for 100-year old siding to be intact enough to get repainted, so we can't assume based on the age of the house that the exterior paint is lead-based. I wouldn't grow veggies next to the house, but other than that, there's not really anything you need to do, lead is not radioactive or anything, you just shouldn't eat it. I would also be weary of getting formal test results that create a mandatory disclosure upon selling as that could turn off a potential buyer. Use a self-test swab if you need to know; you might be pleasantly surprised.
    – dandavis
    Oct 11, 2023 at 21:07
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    The danger is to young children eating lead paint. It should sink into the ground over time and be covered up. Unless you are running a daycare where expensive ground remediation(dig up and remove) will be required, adding some mulch and/or dirt on top should reduce your worries.
    – crip659
    Oct 11, 2023 at 21:47

1 Answer 1


EPA gives good guidance on this here: https://www.epa.gov/sites/default/files/2020-10/documents/lead-in-soil-aug2020.pdf. Note: the soil specific lead level is determined by the cumulative paint work done around the house over its century long tenure.

Main points are:

  • Get soil tested. 100-200 ppm is deemed acceptable for fruit and veg gardening and kids' playing areas.
  • If the soil level is higher than that, you can excavate the first six or so inches of soil. You have to find out if it needs to be discarded at a hazardous waste facility - other facilities might accept soil with higher lead contamination levels (the solution to pollution is dilution).
  • Build up the soil with a new layer of compost and mulch, and try no-till gardening to prevent dredging up old layers of dirt.
  • Add: no chickens around the house and then eating the eggs. Lead accumulates in animal tissues.
    – Cheery
    Oct 11, 2023 at 22:08

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