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Fixer-Fixer-upper shows are still all the rage on TV. In the span of an hour we get to see a house go from drab to fab. What they might not show you in the process is the fact that they may have already had the house tested and possibly treated for lead.
In the scheme of things, it's not that long ago...1978…that the government required paint manufacturers to stop using lead in their products. Many first-time home buyers will purchase a home that is around 50 to 61 years old. The chance that lead based paint is present is very likely. Even if you own a newer home, it's important to know your facts and how to address a problem, should it arise.
National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week has begun. The CDC's theme is Lead Free Kids for a Healthy future. Even with all the warnings and education, the United States still sees over half a million children with high levels of lead in their blood work. If not treated, the child's behavior and development abilities can suffer. Education and testing are the two best weapons we have to eliminating this problem.
Know Your Facts
Up until 1978 lead was added to paint to help maintain color, increase drying time and combat moisture. It wasn't until 1977 that the government stepped in and banned it's use in paints for the home and on toys. In 2009, the EPA started requiring any remodeling project in which the home or business was built before 1978 to be certified. This meant all work was to be completed by someone who was trained to conduct lead safe work practices. Even with these new precautions, as of 2018, 37 million homes and apartments still contain lead-based paints.
Is Lead Present in My Home?
If your home was built before 1978, there is a good chance lead-based paint was used. Before you start thinking you need to buy a new home, let's go over the steps you can take regarding testing and ensuring your families health.
Visiting your doctor and getting a simple screening for lead in your bloodwork is the first step. If the results are higher than what is a normal reading, then finding the source in your home is your next priority.
Lead is a natural metal that has been deemed toxic to the human body. It can enter the body via the mouth and through absorption in the skin. Once ingested it makes its way through the bloodstream infecting many parts of the body. Common health problems are: decreased muscle growth, poor muscle coordination and speech delay.
Where is harmful lead found?
If your home was built prior to 1978, there is a very strong chance lead based paints were used in the building process. If you renovated a room where lead paint was used, the dust can contaminate the surrounding areas as well as the soil outside your home. Window sills, door frames, railings and porch banisters are all hot spots in the older home. Antique furnishings and painted wooden toys should also be handled with care, especially if you are restoring them.
What steps do I take to remove lead in the home?
If you feel you may have lead in your home your first step is to contact a certified lead inspector. They will perform several safe tests that can determine if lead is present. It is not recommended that you buy a test kit yourself as most are unreliable and can potentially expose you to lead during the collection process.
If a test reads positive, hiring a company that specializes in lead removal is strongly advised. Until the professional removes the paint you can clean up any paint chips, wipe down dusty areas and limit activity in the affected room. Always wear protective gear, such as masks, eye-wear and gloves before treating these surfaces.
What should I do if I feel my family has been exposed to lead?
Children under the age of 6 are more susceptible to lead poisoning because of their natural tendency to place objects in their mouths. Their bodies are also more likely of absorbing the toxins harming their still developing nervous system. Lead poisoning can often be hard to detect until high amounts are present in the body. Common symptoms can include headaches, slow growth in children, abdominal pain, mood swings and trouble sleeping. A simple blood test can determine if lead is present in the body. If you or your child tests positive your doctor will determine the best course of treatment.
National Lead Prevention Week is October 22nd thru the 28th. Take some time to visit the CDC website to learn more about prevention, risks and removal.
Today, childhood lead poisoning is considered the most preventable environmental disease among young children. A simple blood test can prevent permanent damage that will last a lifetime. Lead Poisoning Prevention Week is October 23rd-29th. We wanted to discuss the dangers of children being exposed to lead and how to take proper precautions.
According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) potential risks of lead poisoning can cause damage to the brain and nervous system, slowed growth and development, learning and behavior problems and hearing and speech problems.
Lead can be found in all parts of our environment – the air, the soil, the water, and even inside our homes. Lead and lead compounds have been used in a wide variety of products found in and around our homes.
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. Babies and young children can also be more highly exposed to lead because they often put their hands and other objects that can have lead from dust or soil on them into their mouths. Children may also be exposed to lead by eating and drinking food or water containing lead or from dishes or glasses that contain lead, inhaling lead dust from lead-based paint or lead-contaminated soil or from playing with toys with lead paint.
You can lower the chances of exposure to lead in your home, both now and in the future, by taking simple steps like keeping your home clean and well-maintained.
Check out the link below on Lead Poisoning Home Checklist and ask yourself the questions and make sure your home is safe. If you think your child has been exposed to lead, seek out medical attention through your pediatrician or family physician for immediate attention.