Over 300,000 U.S. children ages 1 to 5 have elevated blood lead levels, many of which are from lead paint exposure. Lead poisoning is one of the biggest health hazards for U.S. children due to the use of lead-based paint in residential homes in the past. It was not until 1978 that the use of lead in paint was outlawed, unfortunately, by that time, a large percentage of homes built, contained lead based paints. These paints have the potential to expose the occupants to levels of lead that are much greater than the safe limits, on a daily basis.
Health Effects From Lead Paint Exposure
There have been many studies on the harmful effects of lead paint exposure, and the results of many studies have concluded that children are particularly at risk from the harmful effects of lead paint exposure. Exposing a child to high levels of lead can lead to a number of ailments and other health problems, such as learning difficulties, problems with the development of motor skills, and it has also been linked to ADHD.
Why Lead in Paint is a Problem
The problem with lead based paint is when it deteriorates or becomes damaged. When this occurs, minute particles enter the atmosphere, often invisible to the human eye, these particles are then breathed in by the residents. This means that the lead then enters the body and repeated exposure can cause significant health problems in the long term.
The Importance of Testing for Lead Paint
Due to the fact that lead paint usage was so common prior to 1978, it is important for homeowners to establish whether there is a risk of lead based paints being prevalent in their home. The only way to establish if lead based paints have been used and are still contained within the property is to perform lead testing. Lead test kits are readily available in local home improvement stores but be sure to get one that is EPA approved (see our Lead Paint Testing Guide for a list of approved lead test kits).
If are employing contractors to carry out renovation work on your property and your home was built before 1978 (the date when lead was banned from use in paint in residential buildings) may sure the contractor tests for the presence of lead paint before they begin work.
Understanding the Risks
It is vital that both the owners of property, and contractors are fully aware of the risks of lead based paints, as well as exposure to lead paint, otherwise, there could be significant risks to the health of both residents and the workers if the lead paint is disturbed.