Bankers may soon find themselves unwilling monitors of a new law designed to protect consumers from lead poisoning.

Under the law, sellers must disclose the lead content of any home constructed prior to 1978 before it is sold, rented, or refinanced. The Residential Lead-Based Hazard Reduction Act of 1992 kicked in last month, coveting federally owned homes. All dwellings will be subject to the law next October. There are about 57 million single-family homes built before 1978. While the seller is responsible for testing the paint, a lender could inherit accountability if it forecloses on the property.

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