Make Your Home Lead Safe
Living in a home full of craftsmanship and character is a joy for any homeowner. While remodeling an older home can be fun, it’s important to note that a majority of homes built prior to 1978 were most likely painted with lead based paint. Making sure your home is lead safe, is especially crucial if you have small children.
Lead is a very toxic substance that can lead to a number of health problems, especially in children 6 years of age and younger. Lead is particularly dangerous to children because their growing bodies absorb more lead than adults do and their brains and nervous systems are more sensitive to the damaging effects of lead. Even low levels of lead in the blood of children can result in behavior and learning problems like lower IQ and hyperactivity, slowed growth, hearing problems and anemia.
The most important step parents, doctors, and others can take is to prevent lead exposure before it occurs.
Lead can be found in all parts of our environment including the air, the soil, and the water. Lead has been used in a wide variety of products found in and around our homes, including paint, ceramics, pipes and plumbing materials, solders, gasoline, batteries, ammunition, and cosmetics.
Originally, lead paint was used for its quick drying time, resistance to moisture and depth of color.It wasn’t until 1974 that household dust emerged as a possible pathway for lead exposure. Lead from paint, including lead-contaminated dust, is one of the most common causes of lead poisoning. After comprehensive epidemiological studies were done, the federal government banned the uses of lead based paint. Why is lead based paint still a problem today? Lead paint is still present in millions of homes throughout the United States. Sometimes, lead paint can be hidden under multiple layers of newer paint. If the newer paint is still in good shape, the lead paint is typically not an issue. However, if there are any areas of paint that are damaged, peeling, chipping, cracking, or damp, these are issues that require immediate action.
Determine if your family is at risk for lead poisoning with this Lead Poisoning Home Checklist provided by the EPA. Simple steps like keeping your home clean and well-maintained will go a long way in preventing lead exposure.
Make Your Home Lead Safe:
Prevent Lead Exposure:
- Keep your home clean and dust-free
- Address water damage quickly and completely
- Clean around painted areas where friction can generate dust, such as doors, windows, and drawers. Wipe these areas with a wet sponge or rag to remove paint chips or dust
- Use only cold water to prepare food and drinks
- Clean debris out of outlet screens or faucet aerators on a regular basis
- Wash children’s hands, bottles, pacifiers and toys often
- Teach children to wipe and remove their shoes and wash hands after playing outdoors
- Ensure that your family members eat well-balanced meals. Children with healthy diets absorb less lead. See Lead and a Healthy Diet – How to Protect Your Child
Check Your Home on a Regular Basis:
- Regularly check your home for chipping, peeling, or deteriorating paint, and address issues promptly.
- Regularly check all painted areas that rub together or get lots of wear, like windows, doors, and stairways, for any signs of deterioration.
- Wipe down flat surfaces, like window sills, at least weekly with a damp paper towel and throw away the paper towel.
- Mop smooth floors (using a damp mop) weekly to control dust.
- Remember to test for the presence of lead and lead hazards by a lead professional – this will tell you where you must be especially careful.
Moving or Renovating:
- Before Renovating: Locate Renovation and Lead Dust Sampling Technician Firms Certified by the EPA.
- If you’re a DIYer: Learn how to protect yourself and your family from lead based paint.
- Renting a House: If you have a concern, then ask your landlord to get a lead hazard inspection from a certified inspector before signing your lease.
- Buying or Selling a Home: Use this disclosure agreement provided by the EPA