Lead-Based Paint Risks and Removal Methods

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At Aerolite Consulting, we’re proud to go above and beyond the normal home inspection services with our environmental home testing. We test for a variety of unseen contaminants that could be present in a home you’re looking to purchase, from mold and radon to asbestos, methamphetamine residue and even lead.

For some homes, particularly older ones, lead is a contaminant risk that is often found in multiple potential areas. One common source of lead found in some older homes is lead-based paint, which can be particularly dangerous to children and others. Here’s a primer on everything you need to know about lead-based paint, including why it’s dangerous and how any related risks can be prevented.

Lead-Based Paint Dangers and Symptoms

Lead-based paint is a potentially toxic substance that can be found in various home areas, and it poses particular risks to children – though it can be dangerous for everyone. In particular, children may eat paint chips they find in various areas after they’ve broken off walls.

Some of the numerous impacts of lead on humans include headaches, nausea, constipation, abdominal pain and other immediate symptoms. But risks also include long-term concerns like learning disabilities in children, behavioral issues, hearing loss, child development risks, delays in maternal development and shorter attention spans. There is no question lead is a major risk if present in large quantities, including in paint formats.

Paint Condition and Risks

In certain cases, lead-based paint will be a much smaller risk if it’s in good condition. In these situations, it’s much harder to remove from surfaces, and children are much less likely to ingest it.

When paint begins to chip or become damaged, or if conditions exist that allow it to become a dust format, however, the risks appear quickly. Another potential problem here is excessive heat, which can release lead fumes that are very dangerous. For this reason, lead paint should never be scraped or sanded while dry, and heat guns should not be used to strip it.

Removal Requirements

There is some confusion about whether the EPA requires homeowners to remove lead-based paint. While there are no specific regulations here, such behavior is often strongly recommended – and the EPA requires that companies who perform this task are properly certified. Such companies will also have to adhere to any state or local lead disposal regulations, which homeowners must follow if they’re attempting to remove lead on their own as well.

Staying Safe from Lead-Based Paint

As a homeowner, your safest approach to any lead-based paint is to avoid dealing with it yourself. Do not sand or attempt to strip such surfaces, as you could be releasing harmful lead. We highly recommend contacting professionals like our team for lead testing and proper removal recommendations to ensure this process is completed safely and properly.

For more on the risks of lead-based paint in the home, or to learn about any of our home inspection services, speak to the staff at Aerolite Consulting today.