Should I Be Worried About Lead in My Home?
Updated: Nov 18, 2022
Lead is a naturally occuring metal that was used commonly in paints until being banned by the federal government in 1978. After decades of lobbying from the lead industry, the health hazards could not be ignored any longer.
While no longer used in products like paint today, many homes built in and before the 1970’s have lead-based paints in their homes. We all love some of the gorgeous older homes of this country, but it’s important to be aware of the likelihood of lead exposure, and what to do in that instance.
For older buildings, hiring a lead abatement company is essential in keeping you and your family healthy. When considering potential exposure to this, there are some things to keep in mind to protect your home from lead:
Lead sources in your home
The health effects of lead exposure
How to protect yourself from lead exposure
Where Does Lead Often Show Up?
Lead can come from several sources as it was used in a number of ways in the past. The most common use was in paint to add durability. But lead was also often used as piping for water which poses its own problems.
Older homes, particularly from before 1950, are likely to have lead in the paint or other areas of the home. When renovating, disturbing the site of lead, like with sanding, can create lead dust which is quick to settle and invisible to the naked eye.
When examining the potency of lead, the National Center for Healthy Housing (NCHH) explains the danger of even a small amount of lead. They say for reference that lead particles amounting to a one gram packet of sugar “evenly spread over 100 rooms, each measuring 10 feet by 10 feet, would leave dust levels of 100 µg/ft2, an amount of lead that is more than twice the federal standard (40 µg/ft2) for a hazardous level of lead on floors.”
Lead paint can also deteriorate and flakes can peel off the wall. These flakes and dust can settle on kids' toys and pose a significant risk to children. Ingestion of lead contaminated paint is not uncommon.
Lead can also contaminate drinking water as old pipes and soldering using the material deteriorate over time. According to the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), approximately 9.2 million homes in the country still have lead pipes supplying their water.
To remedy the presence of lead in your home, or any property, it’s imperative that you use a lead paint removal service to eliminate contamination safely.
What Are The Health Effects of Lead Exposure?
The health effects of lead can be hard to detect initially as signs and symptoms remain hidden until a dangerous level of exposure has been reached. When exposure is high enough, it can be fatal.
For adults, lead exposure can cause several health issues. Primarily it can contribute to negative cardiovascular effects such as hypertension and high-blood pressure. It can also lead to a decrease in kidney function, and reproductive problems for both men and women.
Children are the most susceptible to the effects of lead poisoning. The Mayo Clinic says “Children younger than 6 years are especially vulnerable to lead poisoning, which can severely affect mental and physical development.”
In children, lead exposure can result in developmental issues like learning difficulties. It can also lead to weight loss from a lack of appetite, fatigue, vomiting, abdominal pain, hearing loss, and seizures.
As previously mentioned, even small amounts of lead can have extremely potent effects. Several complications can arise from lead exposure, particularly in children. Irreversible damage to brain development is the main concern. However, high levels of exposure can also lead to death in the worst instances.
Because lead exposure can occur without clear signs and symptoms until levels are dangerously high, doctors routinely check children’s blood level during check-ups to see if exposure has occurred. The first step in treatment that the Mayo Clinic recommends is to remove the source of lead. In many cases, the removal of possible exposure will resolve issues that resulted in lower levels of lead. However, in instances where high levels of exposure occurred, medical treatments and therapies are required.
Lead can hide until it is already causing dangerous levels of harm to you and your children. This is why it is important to have experts test your property for lead and remove and sources. Being proactive and using lead abatement services will prevent health complications and is the first step in treating lead poisoning.
How Do I Protect My Family From Lead Exposure?
The most important step in preventing lead exposure and protecting you and your family is to get your home tested for lead and if any is present have it removed safely.
Lead is tricky because the particles can spread easily and be extremely harmful. As with any hazardous materials, qualified professionals should be consulted immediately. Lead, like asbestos, is highly regulated in terms of removal. The removal process requires expert technique and training to perform safely and effectively.
In 2008 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) put forth lead remediation requirements that became fully effective on April 22nd 2010. The Lead-Based Paint Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) Rule stipulates that any workers or firms dealing with lead must be trained for the proper safety measures and become EPA-certified.
To keep you and your family safe from lead exposure, hiring EPA-certified professionals that have years of experience and training with lead remediation is vital.
Prevent Lead Exposure With Professional Help
Lead exposure is a common and dangerous occurrence. Countless homes have lead paint or pipes from the initial construction still remaining today.
These lingering artifacts of an era passed can have adverse effects on the health of you, and especially your children. Kids are the most vulnerable group to the dangers of lead exposure, causing a number of physical and mental developmental issues.
Because of the hazardous and complex nature of lead, only certified and knowledgeable experts should approach the testing and lead remediation processes.
Read one of our additional posts about 'What is Vermiculite Made of?' In this post, we delve into the historical and compositional context of this naturally-occurring material.
Call Cascade Insulation Inc. to Make Your Home Safe
If you live in or own an older property, call our lead removal company right away to get help. Additionally, contact Cascade Insulation to schedule for asbestos air monitoring, household mold removal, or asbestos air testing. Contact us today at (541) 388-2600 or fill out the form here.