A Lead Safe Home
If your home was built before 1978, there could be lead hazards. The most common point of exposure and lead poisoning in the home are found in dust, air, and soil from deteriorating lead based paints. Old and damaged paint can chip, flake, peel, and chalk causing lead particles to spread and bring harm.
Lead was used to make paint more durable, resist moisture, dry faster, and to maintain a fresh appearance for longer. The United States banned the use of lead based paint in 1978, but even today millions of homes still have some, sometimes under layers of new paint. If paint is in good condition and free from peeling lead risks are minimal and usually not a concern.
If your home was built before 1978 and you believe there is lead based paint present there are steps you can take to keep you and your family safe from lead exposure. The first step is to check. You can bring in a certified lead-based paint inspector or risk assessor. They can tell you if your home, or areas of your home, have lead based paints and where they are located. Another option is to pick up lead paint test kit which can be found at most hardware stores. Just be sure they are recognized by the EPA.
Regular maintenance and monitoring is also important. Regularly wipe down windowsills and mop smooth floors to control dust. Routinely check for peeling or chipping paint. If deterioration is found, clean and pick up with a damp cloth and immediately dispose. Then clean the area with a fresh wet cloth. Moisture will keep dust particles from circulating and keep them from being inhaled. Avoid sanding and scrapping is damage is found. If necessary to repair an area, be sure to wet the area first and thoroughly clean up afterwards.
Painting over lead based paint is a safe and common remediation technique. However, standard oil or water based paints will not protect from lead. There are paints specifically for covering lead based paints. They are called "encapsulants" and work to seal and form a barrier to prevent lead dust from escaping. If an affected area is to be renovated be sure to bring in a team who is trained and certified in lead-safe practices.
If you would like more information about lead-safe practices for your home or would like to know more about do it yourself abatements, please visit and read more at https://www.epa.gov/lead.