Monday, February 8, 2016

5 Tips on What to do if You Think you Have Lead Paint in Your Home

What is Lead-Based Paint and why is it Dangerous?
In the past, most individuals used lead-based paint in their homes to create an attractive decor. If your home or apartment was built before 1978, there’s a good chance that it has lead-based paint. Most lead chemicals used in paint was designed to add color to walls or furniture. The most popular paint colors that had lead-based pigments were white, yellow and red. Today, several countries have outlawed the manufacture and use of paints that contain lead to avoid contamination that causes health problems, but many buildings still have old layers of lead-based paint on ceilings, walls and window frames.

Health Problems Caused by Lead-Based Paint
When these old paint layers begin to degrade, the powdery substance is breathed into the lungs or absorbed by the skin. In some cases, children will accidentally ingest lead paint particles, causing an elevated lead content in their bloodstream. Scientists researching a variety of illnesses in the 1970s determined that the lead particles in lead-based paint were detrimental to human health. Some of the dangers from the lead in paint include:
  • Reproductive problems
  • Delayed development for children
  • Kidney damage
  • Stunted growth
  • Nervous system damage
  • Greater incidences of cancer
If you think that a home has lead-based paint on surfaces, then you must take action to meet federal government guidelines along with protecting your health.

Lead Paint Tip One: Have a Home Tested for Lead Paint Contamination
Before investing in professional testing for lead either with a paint inspection or risk assessment, you can buy inexpensive kits that are simple to use at local hardware stores. If one of these paint sample tests is positive, then it is time to have a knowledgeable abatement contractor test additional paint scrapings and dust with specialized equipment. It is possible to have lead paint that is on certain areas of a home, including windowsills, doorframes or a ceiling in one room rather than an entire house. After learning exactly where lead-based paint is located inside or outside a building, you are able to make an effective plan to follow government guidelines along with preventing additional contamination to other areas of your home.

Lead Paint Tip Two: Hire a Licensed Abatement Contractor to Create a Plan
A licensed and certified abatement contractor understands the intricacies of the federal government agency’s regulations concerning lead-based paint that is on the interior or exterior of a home. It is not always necessary to remove all of the lead-based paint, and in some cases, attempting to remove the substance makes contamination from dust and particles easier. Instead of having all of the paint scraped from surfaces, you may have the option to cover it with other materials such as new layers of approved paint on walls also known as encapsulation or strips of metal (aluminum or vinyl cladding) on window frames and new drywall also known as enclosure. An abatement contractor can provide advice about coping with lead-based paint regulations along with helping to determine the cost of each remediation option.

Lead Paint Tip Three: Understand the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Lead Paint Safety Regulations
While an abatement professional can help you determine if there is lead-based paint on a property and offer advice about the substance’s encapsulation, homeowners are responsible for following the regulations. You can obtain a copy of the lead-based paint regulations at federal or state government websites. It is important to understand that failing to follow appropriate lead-based encapsulation guidelines can cause health problems for people living in or visiting a contaminated building. In addition, the government can force you and remodeling contractors to pay expensive fines for failing to remediate a property’s lead-based paint contamination. If there is lead-paint contamination, you can reduce your contact by cleaning up paint chips immediately, cleaning floors, window frames and sills, and other surfaces with warm water and an all-purpose cleaner, washing children’s hands frequently, especially before meals, naps, or bedtime, and removing shoes before entering the home to avoid tracking lead-contaminated soil inside. These are temporary measures until a more permanent solution is instituted.

Lead Paint Tip Four: Request Blood Serum Lead Testing for Children
If you suspect a child has ingested lead-based paint chips or has lead poisoning from dermal contact or breathing lead particles, then request blood serum tests from a physician or medical clinic. Your child under age 6 is most at risk for lead poisoning at home. The symptoms of exposure to lead for children and adults include:
  • Anemia
  • Impaired vitamin D absorption
  • Colic
  • Hypertension
  • Delayed sexual maturation
  • Neurological delay
When an adult or child has a high-level of lead in their bloodstream, it is time to take action to determine where the contamination in a home is located and encapsulate it according to EPA standards.

Lead Paint Tip Five: Avoid Removing Lead Paint Unless it is Required
The regulations for lead-based paint may suggest doing nothing if the surface is not damaged and has a low chance of causing contamination to people. The main danger from the lead in paint is caused from lead dust, peeling strips or chips of paint that can contaminate other surfaces. In buildings where there are children, parents must make sure that a child is not able to pick up the degraded paint flakes because the lead particles are absorbed into the skin. Toddlers may put these paint chips into their mouths, causing significant health concerns. Unfortunately, lead-based paint has a sweet flavor that often attracts children, causing lead poisoning to occur.

The older the home or apartment building is, the more likely it has lead-based paint. The EPA estimates that 87% of homes before the 1940 used lead paint, 69% between 1940 and 1959, and 24% between 1960 and 1977. It is important to identify and remedy any traces of lead in paint to prevent health complications. By hiring a professional abatement contractor and following common sense procedures, you are making your home safe for your family. While it may cost a pretty penny to tackle lead- based paint in your home, the peace of mind is priceless.

Jessica Kane is a professional blogger who writes for Econoheat., the world’s #1 leading manufacturer of the largest waste oil burning product line.


  1. Very informative article. . I will save this info for my own reference. This actually answered my downside. Kudos for you and thanks for sharing.


  2. Hi,

    These are great tips and I have to say that most people don’t even know about lead. I didn’t till we bought our house and we had to have it tested.

    Thanx for sharing such a nice information with us. And we all know that it's necessary to perform lead inspection of your home in a gap of 1 month as this will help in identifying the issues in your home.