What's the deal with lead based paint, and why should anyone be concerned?

Maybe you've seen the warnings on paint sticks, or read an article someplace. "Use caution when sanding or disturbing lead based paint." Is it all a lot of hype? I have to argue as a contractor, that no, it really is not. While many people make a choice to simply ignore lead paint warnings, there could always be consequences to that decision. For instance, a friend did a large DIY reno a few years back, knocking walls down in an older home. As a direct result, his children have elevated blood lead levels.

When exposed to lead dust, children can develop behavior and learning problems (such as hyperactivity), slowed growth, hearing problems, and aggressive patterns of behavior. Stopping a child's exposure to lead from leaded paint, house dust, or any other source is the best way to prevent the harmful effects of lead. There are risks to adults as well.
Recently, the EPA put in place a rule that states anyone who is performing painting, renovation, or repairs in homes built pre-1978 must be certified to perform such work in a lead safe manner. If you hire anyone to work in your pre-1978 home, consider asking them for credentials to ensure that they will take the safety of you and your family into account. Likewise, anyone performing DIY projects is advised, but not required to, test for the presence of lead and take appropriate precautions for safety.
For more of this article: http://on.fb.me/X66qiK
EPA "Protect Your Family From Lead In Your Home" pamphlet : http://www.epa.gov/lead/pubs/leadpdfe.pdf
This is an example of an EPA "Firm Certification" that anyone working in a pre-1978 home must possess.
There are several DIY lead test kits, such as the D-Lead kit shown here.

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2 of 13 comments
  • Hamtil Construction LLC
    on Mar 27, 2013

    @Jason Allison - I like your thought. It would really help if paint centers provided more information on lead safety! For the DIY crowd, and for those hiring a contractor alike! As someone who follows the EPA RRP rule, I desire that more homeowners were aware of its existence. The EPA has done a terrible job of providing education on the rule. It would be nice to see some of the money we pay to be certified recycled back into awareness campaigns that target consumers. What better place than a home/ paint store to meet that goal?

  • Pamela Czaplicki
    on Mar 28, 2013

    my nephew has been treated for lead poisioning... it's no fun!! please be careful!

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