Have you just recently moved into an older home? Maybe you’ve been living in an older home for a while now, but you weren’t the original owner. There can be all kinds of unexpected surprises to be found in older homes, but one thing you never want to find is the existence of lead paint.
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, older homes built before 1978 are at a strong risk of having used lead paint. And the older your home gets, the higher the odds are of it having lead paint. For example, those built from 1960-1977 have a 24% chance of lead paint, whereas those built before 1940 have an 87% chance.
Knowing this information, it can make it a little easier to guess whether you have lead paint, but a guess isn’t good enough. Here we’ll take a look what you should do if you suspect you may have lead paint in your home.
Why It Matters
Did you know that millions of homeowners are in danger of lead exposure each and every day, and many of them don’t even realize it? Lead paint isn’t always going to be obvious; in fact, it could be hiding under many layers of paint, making it impossible for you to detect on first glance.
When exposed to lead paint, it can lead to lead poisoning. This will usually need to occur through the ingestion of the lead. Keep in mind that this doesn’t just mean flakes of chipping paint; it can also be the dust of the paint when disturbed.
All it takes is a low amount of exposure to start seeing the effects such as behavioral and learning disabilities in children. As the exposure gets worse, so do the symptoms. They can include reduced nervous and brain system functions, anemia, and more.
What to Do About It
In general, the rule is not to disturb the lead paint if it is painted over and still in good condition. Where it becomes dangerous is if it is peeling, cracking, damp, damaged, or chipping. This is an immediate and serious health hazard that needs to be remedied by a professional in lead removal.
Now, what happens if you want to do renovations and repairs in the home? Because this can disturb the lead paint and cause dust, you’ll need to use a lead-safe certified contractor. Lead dust is toxic, and again, it needs to be taken seriously. It can work its way through the entire home too once it’s in the air, so closing off one room isn’t going to be enough.
In general, the best thing for homeowners to do who live in a house that was built before 1978 is have a risk assessment conducted. This can also include a paint inspection.
Not Worth the Chance
When it comes down to it, making a guess about whether your home may or may not have lead paint is never wise. It’s always best to know for sure so you can remedy the situation properly and ensure everyone in the home is kept safe and sound.