Lead paint and your health

Lead paint is toxic and can be harmful to your health, particularly for pregnant women, children and pets.

You and your family may be at risk of lead paint exposure when renovating, restoring or re-painting, especially if your home was built before the mid-1970s.

When lead paint deteriorates, is damaged or disturbed, you could be at risk of breathing in paint fumes and small particles or swallowing paint flakes and dust – which can be found in places like wall cavities or under the carpet.

Follow the six step guide (PDF 856KB) when renovating, restoring or repainting, to help manage the health risk for you and your family.

It is important to remember there is no safe level of lead exposure. All exposure to lead should be reduced or prevented to keep blood lead levels as low as possible.

See the health effects from lead exposure page for more information on the health effects of lead.

What to do if you think you have been exposed to lead?

If you are worried that you or your family have been exposed to lead, it is important to see your doctor and discuss having a blood lead test.

If you are renting a privately-owned house and you are concerned about the condition or type of paint in your home you should contact your property owner or agent.

Are you living in a rented property?

If you are renting a privately owned house and you are concerned about the condition of the house, or the type of paint used, you should contact your property owner or agent.

Useful contacts

When was the level of lead in paint restricted

Before 1970, the paint used in many Australian houses contained high levels of lead, this is because lead is an effective colour pigment and it makes paint tough and durable.

In 1969, the Australian Uniform Paint Standard was amended to reduce the amount of lead in domestic paint to 1%, down from the previously recommended level of 50%.

The maximum content of lead was further reduced to 0.25% in 1992, 0.1% in 1997, and 0.009%, as of 1 October 2021 (anti-corrosive and anti-fouling paints remain 0.1% lead).

Other resources 

Further information

For further information on lead and lead-based paint, contact SA Health's Scientific Services on (08) 8226 7100.