Built Environments

Renovations and homes built before 1990 can be a source of lead through disturbed dust and old peeling paint.

Homes built before 1990 may contain lead-based paint. Lead-based paint is a hazard when it’s chipping, peeling or disturbed during renovations. Renovations stir up dust, and in homes built before 1990, can expose people to lead.​

Keeping dust down in the home and yard reduces the chances of children accidentally ingesting lead. Children and pregnant women are more at risk from lead exposure, and it’s important to keep them clear of renovation dust.

Frequently asked questions about built environments

What support can I receive as a senior that may have lead based paint exposure in my home?

Lead based paint is in many pre-1990 homes in many communities. Lead paint is only a risk when the paint is chipping, flaking, crushed or sanded into dust.

THEP provides information and education to property owners and families about lead-based paint (LBP) hazards in and around the home environment with the goal to reduce children’s potential exposure.

Homeowners are responsible for managing identified sources of lead-based paint if they choose to.

THEP support is via education (Visit thep.ca to view ‘how-to’ videos on removing exterior paint and keeping dust down while renovating). THEP also can provide lead-safe renovation supplies to keep the dust down while renovating.

If you are concerned that you or someone else in your home has been exposed to lead dust from renovations, talk to your family doctor for advice about potential exposure concerns.   HealthLink BC has information on lead based paint that we can email (or print and mail) to you if that is helpful: https://www.healthlinkbc.ca/sites/default/files/documents/healthfiles/hfile31.pdf   For support in dispute resolution with your landlord, please contact the Residential Tenancy Board at: Residential Tenancies – Province of British Columbia (gov.bc.ca)   or toll free: 1-800-665-8779.  

Does THEP carry out lead abatement services?

THEP works with the community to provide information and education about lead-based paint hazards to reduce children’s potential expsosure. The program does not include removing lead-based paint from homes.   The program does provide lead-safe renovation supplies for DIY renovations in the Trail area. We’ve put together videos you can use to learn more about safely removing lead-based paint from your home. Visit thep.ca for videos.

I’ve had my soil tested/replaced. Can I still have my paint tested for lead?

THEP is conducting paint screening on all properties identified for soil management in priority order. Properties that have received soil management in previous years should contact the community program office to be added to the list of properties to be tested.

What about paint on the exterior of my home?

Exterior paint on homes older than 1990 may contain lead. Sometimes leaving lead-based paint alone is safer than removing it, as long as it is not chipping or within the reach of children. THEP’s yard assessment includes exterior paint testing for lead as of May 2023. Due to the high volume of requests, properties will be addressed in priority order.   If the paint is chipping or peeling, visit the Government of Canada’s home safety page for more resources.

I have lead in paint in my home and I’m starting a renovation. What should I do?

If you must remove lead-based paint from your walls, this Government of Canada resource provides suggestions to be lead-safe. THEP also has DIY videos to reduce dust during renovations and they are accessed at thep.ca > Resources > Videos.

What should I do if lead is detected in paint in my home?

Sometimes leaving lead-based paint alone is safer than removing it, as long as it is not chipping or within the reach of children. To reduce the chance of exposure to lead-based paint, surfaces in good condition can be covered with non-lead paint, vinyl wallpaper, wallboard or paneling.

However, lead-based paint in the home can be a serious health hazard when it’s chipping, flaking or within reach of children who may chew on it. In this case, consider removing the paint following very specific guidelines, or hiring an expert to do the job.

Am I required to disclose the results if lead-based paint is found?

Circumstances where you may need to disclose the presence of lead-based paint include:

  • to tenants if the home is rented
  • to buyers if the home is sold
  • when disposing of materials containing lead-based paint  

Why do I need my paint tested?

Families and caregivers of young children should have paint tested to find out if there is a risk of lead exposure from paint in their home.

  • Infants, children and pregnant women are at higher risk. Toddlers and children can ingest lead because of their frequent hand-to-mouth activity and tendency to mouth or chew objects. Children absorb and retain more lead into their bodies compared to adults. For pregnant women, even low levels of lead can affect the growth of the developing baby.
  • Lead-based paint in the home is a serious health hazard when it’s chipping, flaking or within reach of children who may chew on it.

Why has THEP starting testing paint?

Pre-1990 homes may contain lead-based paint. Wear-and-tear of painted surfaces such as doors, windows, stairs and railings can expose you and your family to health risks.

To reduce the risk of lead exposure for young children, THEP has added paint testing to existing services such as yard assessments and in-home visits for expectant families and families with children under three.

How do I know if there is lead paint in my home?

If the home is older than 1960, you can assume there is lead paint in the layers and on at least some surfaces. Homes built between 1960 and 1990 may also contain lead paint. We recommend that you be lead safe and protect yourself and others from exposure to renovation dust and paint chips. If you want to test for lead paint, there are simple test kits that can be purchased or you can send a paint chip to a lab for analysis. As noted above, you’re best to assume there is some lead paint and use lead safe practices.

What should I do if I want to renovate my home?

Please contact the Community Program Office at 1319 Bay Avenue or 250.368.3256 for information on the Lead Safe Renovation Program supports and information available to you.  

The Lead Safe Renovation Program applies to all pre-1990 homes anywhere in the Lower Columbia.

Resources are also available online.

Is drinking water a source of lead exposure in Trail?

Lead in drinking water is not considered a source of lead exposure in the City of Trail. Drinking water is tested regularly at the City’s two sources and confirmed to meet all the guidelines for Canadian drinking water quality for metals (including lead), chemicals and other potential risks to water quality. The City’s drinking water is believed to be at low risk of leaching lead from the distribution system. This is supported by water quality monitoring and testing at a number of locations throughout the city’s drinking water system. For more information, contact info@trail.ca.

If you have concerns about lead pipes in your home, you can have your water tested. Click this link for labs in B.C. approved by the Provincial Health Officer for drinking water.

HealthLinkBC provides additional information on lead in drinking water, including how you can protect yourself and family.
Finally, if you don’t know what kind of pipes you have, there is a helpful online tool to test whether you are likely to have lead water.

Search our Knowledge Base for more FAQs on Built Environments in the Trail Area.

To reduce dust in your home:


Use a damp mop on bare floors and a damp cloth on windowsills, furniture, baseboards, and other surfaces kids touch, such as toys.

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Use a vacuum with a High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter on carpets (including area rugs) and bare floors.

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Avoid sweeping with a broom because it stirs dust up without removing it.

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Wipe kitchen counters and eating surfaces often.

There are some other steps you can take to limit the amount of dust you ingest.

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Always wash hands before eating and after being outdoors.

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Eat regular, nutritious meals that are high in calcium, vitamin C and iron.


When renovating, be careful to contain dust to the work area and clean up thoroughly.

Expectant families and families with children under three years old ...

Sign up online for a free Healthy Families Healthy Homes visit to identify potential sources of lead in your home.

  • THEP now offers free paint testing as part of its Healthy Families Healthy Homes visits for expectant families and families with children under three years old.
  • THEP soil testing and soil management now includes exterior paint testing.
  • All homeowners can access tips on how to limit your exposure to lead in paint. Contact us for an information package or visit thep.ca for resources.
  • Sometimes it’s safest to leave lead-based paint undisturbed, as long as it’s not chipping, creating dust, or within reach of young children.
  • Children and pregnant women are more at risk from lead exposure, and it’s important to keep them clear of renovation dust.

In the Program area, if your home was built before 1990,

 THEP offers advice and support to residents carrying out renovations.

THEP provides safety supplies and equipment for free.

See our lead-safe renovation checklist and instructional videos.

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