Lead Risks in the Home

Lead poisoning causes permanent damage to multiple internal systems in men and women of any age.  Children under six are at the highest risk due to the lack of a fully formed blood brain barrier, which simply means that the child’s developing brain will be affected more directly.

Adults that are poisoned have typically come into contact unknowingly such as exposure at work or through hobbies.  A child’s exposure, however, usually can be avoided by controlling the lead risks in the places they stay such as home, school, or a babysitter’s house.  This is because their exposure usually comes from contaminated paints, stains, and / or soil.

How does it get into my home?

Lead as an additive to paints and stains was not fully outlawed in residential use until 1978.  Several policy changes and reductions were put into place prior to this as well.  Any home built or renovated prior to 1978 is considered a potential lead risk.  Lead was used in paints and stains for its ability to add durability and as a tinting agent to create bright and lasting colors.  Many people wrongly assume their home is not a lead risk because they have all original woodwork, but lead was even used in clear coatings as a drying agent.

In several cases the lead exposure is brought into the home by work or hobby activities as well.

The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has a more detailed page full of information regarding likely exposures.  Please follow the link below:

https://www.epa.gov/lead/protect-your-family-sources-lead

What, if any, are the health risks?

The health risks of lead exposure are high.  In children under six the exposure can permanently hinder the brains development.  Poisoning at any age can cause damage to a multitude of body systems and processes.

The EPA has a page devoted to the potential health hazards associated with lead exposure.  Please follow the link for more information:

https://www.epa.gov/lead/learn-about-lead#effects

What can I do?

Knowing and being mindful of lead risks inside and outside of your home is vital to limiting your family’s exposure.  Hardware stores sell do it yourself kits containing a chemical swab that can be used for quick checks in your home.  Licensed Risk Assessors can perform a risk assessment to determine the active concerns in and around the property and are able to make recommendations about mitigating them properly.

The following link contains more information:

https://www.epa.gov/lead/lead-abatement-inspection-and-risk-assessment

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