All sellers with homes built prior to 1978 are required to fill out a lead-based paint disclosure form and provide you, the buyer, with a lead-based paint educational booklet in any sale (see link below). Lead is a highly toxic metal that was used for many years in products found in and around our homes prior to 1978.
Lead may cause a range of health effects, from behavioral problems and learning disabilities, to seizures and death. Children 6 years old and under are most at risk, because their bodies are growing quickly.
On the other hand, there are millions of homes with lead paint out there, and many have been painted and repainted several times so the lead paint is well covered up. When in doubt, have the paint tested and evaluated either at a local laboratory, or with one of the home test kits available at your local hardware store.
For the complete home buying EPA pamphlet on Lead based paint, click here