If you live in a house built before 1978, there’s a good chance it’s secretly plotting to kill you. According to a recent survey, Homes built before this time were commonly coated in lead-based paint that becomes extremely harmful to your health as soon as it’s disturbed in any way – potentially leading to lead poisoning. And while you might think that a call to your local contractor or visit to your local hardware store might help you learn how to do these renovations safely, think again.

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According to a recent survey by Angie’s List of 200 randomly-selected painters, remodelers, window contractors and hardware store stores in cities across the U.S., many experts are giving bad advice to their customers. They told each business they contacted that they were renovating a two-year-old child’s room in a 1920s house and wanted to know the proper way to strip paint and replace door and window frames.

Some of the responses they got include:

“It’s just a bunch of B.S., really.”

“Lead only harms you if you eat it.”

“Just close the door and wear a mask.”

“The whole lead thing is very overblown unless your kids are chewing or gnawing on the windowsills.”

Angie’s List notes that across the board, almost 20 percent of contractors and hardware stores gave poor advice, telling people to use a dry scrape or heat gun method to remove the paint. Broken down, hardware stores were the worst offenders, with 47 percent giving bad advice, while remodeling contractors gave “dangerous” advice 20 percent of the time; painters 10 percent and window contractors 2 percent.

Related: Studies Show Lead Poisoning May Increase Criminal Behavior

The scariest part of it all is that contractors working with lead paint had very little regulation until 2010 when the EPA implemented the Renovation Repair and Painting Program (RPP) that requires any contractor working with lead paint to be certified by the EPA and follow strict protocols to minimize and contain lead dust in home renovation projects. So if you’re planning to do any renovations to your older home, it’s best to find an EPA certified contractor and make sure they follow the proper procedures for working with lead paint.

Via Angie’s List

Images via cat-sidh and cindy47452, Flickr Creative Commons