Lead Paint Risk Factor
What exactly is a lead paint risk factor?
Interestingly enough, many likely assume that the the lead paint risk factor is no longer an issue. But please know that in fact, the lead paint risk factor is still a major issue in child health today.
Many residential structures built before 1978 (when lead paint was outlawed) contain unsafe lead paint, which can lead to irrepairable damage to children. Lead paint still exists in homes, according to Environmental Protection Agency statistics, built between 1960-1977 (about 24%), 1940-1959 (about 69%) and before 1940 (about 87%). So our children are still at risk. It can be in many areas of the home and in more than just paint (ie. water through lead pipes, dust particles, etc.). So if you live in a home dating before 1978 and have never had your home tested, there are a couple things you can do to decrease your risk.
- Hire a lead remediation company. They will come to your house and advise you what areas of your home may still contain lead. If they should find that you have a lead or lead paint risk factor in your home, they are prepared to professionally remediate the issue. Or, where possible, advise you as to how you can remediate the issue yourself.
- Have your water tested for lead. This is a great starting point, because if your home is still connected to lead plumbing, your family is at serious risk. Your drinking water may contain lead, which should be remediated at once. You can call Culligan at 1-855-439-2855 for further instruction. In the meantime, be sure to run your tap water for a bit before using it for drinking or cooking. And cook with cold water, because the likelihood of lead in water is more prevelant in hot water.
- Paint any and every wall that hasn’t been painted since 1978 or before. This is a form of encapsulating the lead, or ‘covering it up’, so to speak. This is why in some homes you see thick layers of paint on the trim and such. Encapsulation is considered an acceptable form of remediation of the lead paint risk factor. NOTE * If you see peeling paint inside your home, it is difficult to simply encapsulate and have a smooth surface, so you may want to consider professional remediation before you paint.
- Re-side your house. It can be very expensive to remediate the exterior of a home that is covered with chipping lead paint. Often times it is peeling and painting over it to encapsulate is not an option. Another option is to encapsulate with siding to prevent lead paint chips from falling, giving children, your own and others, access.
- Damp mop and damp dust. Lead dust particles can become airborne and exist in the smallest of amounts around your house, making it easily ingestible, especially after dry dusting. It is recommended that you dust with a wet or damp cloth to avoid throwing particles into the air and aid in the cleaning of, not spreading of lead dust particles.
- Wash children’s hands after playing outside. Lead particles can be very prevelant in your yard, or in yards you visit. Be sure that your children do not put their hands or toys in their mouth while playing outside. And immediately wash their hands and toys when they come into the house. As well as your pets. If you would like to have your soil tested, contact the University of Massachusetts Soil & Plant Tissue Testing Laboratory.
- Remove/Remediate any visible lead paint chips from your home
- And, of course most importantly, do your best to watch what your children are putting in their mouths, both at home and in other people’s homes.
Again, the lead risk factor is alive and well and your children and the children of others may be at risk.
Check with your local home improvements store for test kits you can do right at home.
If your home tests positive for lead paint, be sure to reach out to a lead paint remediator.
Remember, even if you don’t have children, if children visit your home, you are putting others at risk. Removing lead paint yourself, it is very likely you will leave lead paint chips behind.
Be proactive and let the professionals make your home safe.