What is Lead?
Lead is a naturally occurring element found in the earth's crust. While it has some beneficial uses, it can be toxic to humans and animals
Where is Lead found?
Lead can be found in all parts of our environment - air, soil, water, and even inside our homes. Much of our exposure to lead comes from human activities including the use of fossil fuels (previously used leaded gasoline), some types of industrial facilities, and lead-based paint in older homes. Lead-based paints were banned for use in housing in 1978; most houses built before 1978 are likely to contain some lead-based paint. However, it is not the paint itself that is dangerous it is the deterioration of the paint.
Approximately 24 million housing units have deteriorated leaded paint and elevated levels of lead-contaminated house dust. More than 4 million homes built before 1978 are home to one or more young children.
Who is at risk?
Children under the age of 6 years old are at risk because they are growing so rapidly, and because they tend to put their hands or other objects which may be contaminated with lead dust into their mouths.
What can be done to prevent exposure to lead?
It is important to determine the construction year of the house or dwelling where you child spends a large amount of time (I.e. grandparents or daycare). In housing built before 1978, assume that the paint has lead unless tests show otherwise
- Talk to your local lead safe certified companies about testing paint and dust from your home for lead.
- Make sure your child does not have access to peeling paint or chewable surfaces painted with lead-based paint.
- Children and pregnant women should not be present in housing built before 1978 that is undergoing renovation.
- Regularly wash children's hands and toys - Hands and toys can become contaminated from household dust or exterior soil.
- Regularly wet-mop floors and wet-wipe window components - Because household dust is a major source of lead, you should clean surfaces with a wet cloth or mop every 2-3 weeks.
Steps to determine if a renovation involves lead-based paint
- Find out the age of the home or child-occupied facility
- If it was built before 1978, it may have lead-based paint.
- The older the home, the greater the likelihood that lead is present in the paint and accumulated dust.
- Lead-based paint may be found either inside or outside the home and is most common in kitchens, bathrooms, or window trim.
- Under a federal disclosure law, when a pre-1978 home is sold or leased, the seller/landlord must provide information to the buyer/tenant about any known lead-based paint.
- If you determine that your home was built before 1978, and you cannot find any records pertaining to lead-based paint in the home or facility, you should consider having surfaces around your home tested for lead-based paint.
What does the EPA require of all lead-safe renovation certified contractors.
- All firms paid to perform renovation, repair or painting work in pre-1978 housing and child-occupied facilities must be certified.
- All firms must have a "Certified Renovator" assigned to each job where lead-based paint is possible.
- All "Certified Renovators" must successfully complete an EPA or State-approved training course conducted by a training program accredited by the EPA or an EPA-authorized state program.
- All renovation workers must be trained in lead-safe renovation techniques.
- All renovators must use work area containment to prevent dust and debris from leaving the work area.
- All renovators must perform a thorough cleaning followed by a cleaning verification procedure to minimize exposure to lead-based paint hazards.
Why should I use a lead-safe certified contractor?
If your home was built before 1978 there is a good chance that certain areas of the home may be contaminated with lead-based paint. By choosing to have your home renovated by a lead-safe certified contractor you are ensuring that any renovations are performed safely and reducing the risk of lead poisoning. Each lead-safe certified firm is trained to properly renovate homes that may have lead-based paints. This is particularly important if the residence or facility is host to small children. In order to reduce the chance that your child may become sick with lead poisoning it is recommended that you contact a lead-safe firm for any renovation needs.
If you are looking to perform renovations on a house built before 1978 contact us today to schedule an estimate. Service Master by Singer is certified to handle any renovation involving lead-based paints and can help reduce the risk of any contamination.