Lead is a natural chemical element. It is a soft, malleable metal that can be toxic if ingested or inhaled. In the wood flooring industry, lead may be present in old finishes and paint, which is often encountered in home improvement projects. The United States Environmental Protection Agency requires that if it affects surfaces larger than 6 square feet, then lead from homes built before 1978 or any non residential building should be tested, otherwise the type of floor coating is unknown. Testing must be conducted by a certification company before work can begin. If there is lead, the lead safety work specification must be followed. The law must be observed throughout the country. Failing to understand key regulations or misinformation about how they affect you can result in huge fines and possibly damage your company financially.