Lead is a proven health hazard. Unless otherwise “deleaded,” most older homes and buildings constructed prior to 1978 are likely to contain lead paint, which is the most common form of lead found in homes. Fortunately, home-sellers and landlords are now required to disclose any “known information” on lead in home.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), lead paint can enter the body simply, as a person breathes in dust containing lead paint particles. It can be particularly dangerous to children under age 6 because they are developing mentally and physically at a rapid pace. However, lead is also a danger to adults. The effects of lead may be as minor as concentration and memory problems, or as severe as nerve disorders, or reproductive difficulties.
To protect your family’s health, be sure to familiarize yourself wih the following information:
- Have your home tested for lead paint, especially if it was built before 1978. If lead paint is detected, do not try and remove it yourself. Improper removal can create a more dangerous environment.
- Talk to your doctor, or your local health department, to see if you or your child should be tested for lead.
- The primary source for lead exposure is lead-based paint is peeling, chipping, chalking, or cracking – an obvious hazard wen found on open surfaces that children can get close to, like window trim and sills, doors and door-frames, stairs, railings, banisters, porches, and fences.
- Lead-based paint when scraped, sanded or heated can give off lead dust that could settle and reenter the air when you vacuum, sweep, or walk through affected areas.
- Lead solder in your pipes can contaminate drinking water. If you suspect lead in your plumbing, call your local health department to find out about testing your water.
- Lead can also be found in your yard. If lead is in your soil, you could have unknowingly tracked it into your home or a child could have played in contaminated soil.
By maintaining your awareness of these concerns and adopting a proactive attitude toward minimizing exposure, you can help reduce the potential lead poisoning risk to your family’s health.