Many homes that were built before 1978 have paint that contains lead. Lead is a dangerous substance that is especially harmful to children. Read on to learn about lead paint in the home and what to do if you have it.
When is Lead Paint in the Home a Problem?
The U.S. government banned the use of lead paint in houses in 1978. However, there are still millions of homes that have lead paint on the walls, often underneath newer layers of paint. Lead paint is especially dangerous when it chips or peels and contaminates household dust. Lead paint is a greater hazard on surfaces that see a lot of wear, like door frames or window sills.
How to Tell if You Have Lead Paint in the Home
The only way to know if the paint in your home contains lead is to have it professionally tested. Luckily, lead testing will determine if the base layers of paint contain lead, even if they are under multiple layers of non-lead paint.
Health Problems Caused by Lead
The most common causes of lead poisoning in children are lead paint and contaminated dust from the paint. Lead poisoning can cause irreversible damage to your health. Some of the symptoms include:
- Learning disabilities
- Hearing loss
- Loss of appetite
- Digestive troubles
- High blood pressure
Exposure to lead during pregnancy also causes complications, including miscarriage and premature birth.
What to Do About Lead Paint in the Home
Any home built before 1978 should be tested for lead paint. If the test results show that you have lead paint in your house, here are your options:
Hire a contractor who specializes in lead paint removal. Professionals will remove lead paint with a sander that’s equipped with a HEPA-filtered vacuum or by using a low-temperature heat gun.
Another strategy involves removing and replacing the entire parts of the structure that contain lead paint, like drywall, doors, and windows.
Enclosure means covering the lead paint with a new surface, such as new drywall. Window sills can be covered with a vinyl cladding. This method temporarily protects your family from lead paint poisoning, but the lead paint is still a hazard if you remodel in the future.