Homes built before 1978 may contain lead paint. Left alone and undisturbed, the toxins are likely to not harm the homeowner. If lead based paint is damaged, it releases harmful dust into the atmosphere. How can you find out if there is lead paint in your home?
Is there Lead Paint in my Home?
If your home was built prior to 1978, there is a good chance that you may find some lead based paint inside or even outside. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) explains that deteriorating paint leads to the disbursement of lead-containing particles in everyday household dust and even in the soil surrounding the home.
Primary hazards are painted surfaces that are chipping or peeling. If the lead based paint within the home is intact, there is a much smaller chance of contamination. Remember that older homes frequently feature a number of paint coats. It is not unusual to have lead paint covered by several coats of lead-free paint.
Lead Paint Testing
Ever since the lead scare related to toys imported from China, lead paint testing kits have exploded onto the market. While a good many of them are likely effective, there are only three test kits that the EPA actually recognizes. In order to make the stringent cut with the agency, test kits must not provide in excess of five percent false negative results.
This provides homeowners with a 95 percent accuracy rating when doing lead paint testing in their homes. As of November, 2010, these three kits are Lead Check, State of Massachusetts lead test kits and D-Lead. If you opt for testing your home for lead based paint, buy one of these test kits rather than whatever store brand kit is currently on sale.
Lead Paint Removal
Since lead paint particles are released as soon as the surface is disturbed – such as may be the case during renovation, home improvements and small wall repairs that call for sanding as well as everyday damage – this is a job for a professional. Even a seasoned home improvement-minded homeowner will be wise to leave lead paint removal to an abatement contractor who is certified in the removal, sealing and also disposal of lead paint.
As an aside: it is a good idea to also have children who are living in the home undergo blood tests for lead contamination. Youngsters under the age of six are especially susceptible to the poisoning effects of the substance, and it a good practice to err on the side of caution.
EPA: “Lead in Paint, Dust, and Soil”
EPA: “Recognition of Lead Test Kits”