Lead is a toxic metal that can cause an array of health problems if it is absorbed into the body. Before the dangers were known, many buildings and homes were painted with paint containing lead. Lead was an ingredient in the paint that helped with pigmentation and durability. Since discovering the toxicity of lead-based paint, homeowners are required to have lead-based paint removed.
There are safe ways to cover up and dispose of lead based paint. According to the EPA, lead paint that has been covered up with another paint will usually not cause problems. However, “[d]eteriorating lead-based paint (peeling, chipping, chalking, cracking, damaged, or damp) is a hazard and needs immediate attention”.
If you live in a home built before 1978 there is a risk that your walls may be covered in lead paint. Thankfully, there are simple ways to test for lead. The most inexpensive way to test for lead is getting a do-it-yourself test kit at your local hardware store. For more accurate testing you can also send a chip of the paint into a laboratory for testing, or have a technician come to your house and check using X-ray fluorescence.
Lead poisoning occurs when lead enters the body through ingestion, absorption of lead dust, or breathing lead fumes. The poisoning is not always immediate as lead can build up in your body. Children are at a greater risk for lead poisoning because they often put things in their mouths. Symptoms include headaches, abdominal pain, joint and muscle pain, reproductive problems, and others. In children, symptoms can also include slowed growth, behavioral problems, vomiting, and hearing loss.
The easiest way to avoid lead exposure is to keep your home in good repair. Cover up any chips on the walls and inspect the paint in your home on a regular basis. If you are renovating or removing lead paint the best thing to do is hire a professional. A professional will take all the precautions necessary to ensure your home is free of lead and lead particles.
To learn more about lead paint removal, contact the Total Package Painting team for a quote.
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