the painted surface
Lead Exposure Risks In Paint
Homes built after 1978 should not have in them any lead-based paint. The risk of exposure in these homes is very small. There are test kits available to indicate the presence of lead. Surfaces that are chipping, need sanding or scraping, should be tested if there is any doubt. Surfaces that are not damaged or disturbed pose no risk.
However, homes built prior to 1978 may have lead-based paint in them. A test for the presence of lead should definitely be made before any scraping, sanding or disturbance of the painted surfaces. Intact paint does not pose a hazard, only when a lead-based paint becomes dust, chips or particles that could be ingested does it become a problem. If the surfaces were painted prior to 1978 test before any work is performed. The test kit - Leadcheck® 8 Swab Instant Lead Testing Kit or similar lead testing kit is available at most paint dealers. LeadCheck Swabs are non-hazardous and provide a rapid, sensitive and specific test for leachable lead on any surface. When lead is detected, LeadCheck Swabs and/or the surface being tested turns pink or red on contact, depending on the concentration of lead present. In the vast majority of test situations results are obtained in less than 30 seconds. When detecting low levels of lead, or lead chromate containing pigments, results may take longer to develop. Each kit contains test confirmation cards to verify individual test results. Follow the kit's instructions carefully to get accurate results.
The ingestion of lead can be harmful to anyone. Children are especially vulnerable to lead poisoning. This is in part due to their tendency to put their hands in their mouths which might have lead dust or chips on them and also bacause their growing bodies absorb more lead. Adults are not free from the effects of lead exposure and pregnant women should especially be careful. Some of the problems attributed to lead are, damage to the brain and nervous system, behavior problems in children, high blood pressure, reproductive problems and difficulties during pregnancy.
If renovation is planned for a home built prior to 1978 lead concerns must be considered. Have the structure tested before disturbing any paint. Guidelines for renovation of homes that may be contaminated with lead can be found in the PDF brochure Renovate Right or its reproduction on this site Renovate Right. For more information concerning lead in the home download the PDF document here: Protect Your Family from Lead In Your Home These PDFs and others covering this subject are distributed by the EPA.
More helpful painting tips, techniques and how-to articles can be found by following these links.
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