What is lead? According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “Lead is a naturally occurring element found in small amounts in the earth’s crust. While it has some beneficial uses, it can be toxic to humans and animals causing health effects.” Lead can be found in the air that we breathe, in the soil, water, and inside older homes. Much of our lead exposure comes from human activities, such as lead-based paint, industrial facilities, and our use of leaded gasoline in the past. Lead and its compounds have been used in cosmetics, gasoline, paint, plumbing materials, ammunition, and pipes.
The Concern: Lead in Older Homes
If you’re living in a home that was built before 1978, there is a possibility that it has lead-based paint in one or more rooms in the house. Why is the year 1978 important? Because, that’s the year that the federal government banned lead-based paint for consumer use. Some states however, banned it before the government did. “Lead from paint, including lead-contaminated dust, is one of the most common causes of lead poisoning,” said the EPA.
According to the EPA:
- To this day, lead is still present in millions of homes. Sometimes it’s under layers of newer lead-free paint. If the newer layers are in good shape, the underlying lead paint should not be a problem. But, if the paint is chipping, peeling or cracking, it’s dangerous and needs to be addressed immediately.
- Lead paint can be a hazard in high-wear areas and when infants and toddlers chew on doors, windows and window sills, doors and door frames, railings, banisters, porches and stairs.
- If you live in an older home, you should keep the paint in excellent shape and dust the house frequently.
- Be aware that lead can be contained in household dust. Lead dust can also be tracked into the house from outdoors.
- If you’re renovating an older home, be aware that it can create toxic lead dust when painted surfaces are disturbed.
- Lead can be used in household plumbing materials. In this case, the lead can leach and enter the water supply to a home. Lead pipes were commonly installed in homes before 1986.
Lead is highly toxic and can lead to a number of health problems, especially in small children. “When lead is absorbed into the body, it can cause damage to the brain and other vital organs, like the kidneys, nerves and blood,” according to HUD.GOV.
If you’re concerned you’re living in an older home with lead-based paint, contact Green Home Solutions, LLC. We are qualified lead abatement specialists who follow the EPA’s and OSHA’s strict guidelines regarding lead-based paint. Let our lead abatement team remove the lead hazard so your home can be healthy and lead-free.